New laws are being considered to improve the governance of co-ops in Singapore, with a review of country’s the Co-operative Societies Act.
The move was announced by Grace Fu, minister for culture, community and youth, at the annual dinner of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation.
She said the measure was particularly important for co-ops within the financial sector, where credit co-ops have more 100,000 members and assets of SGD $900m.
The review is the result of a public consultation launched by the ministry in 2014 to identify areas where the law on co-ops needed to be changed.
This followed the suspension of two employees from Singapore Statutory Boards Employees’ Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society over the suspected misappropriation ofSGD $5.1m in funds. The pair were charged with a string of fraud offences in December last year.
The legislation was last amended in 2008.
Dolly Goh, chief executive of the Singapore Federation of Co-operatives, said: “There are some changes SNCF is aware of and we work closely with the regulator on these intended changes.
“Knowing our affiliates well helps SNCF to provide relevant feedback and suggestions to the regulator. We also strongly encourage the regulator to include one or two relevant co-ops to give them feedback as well so that together, we emerge stronger.”
Last year, the Registry of Co-operative Societies and the SNCF developed a code of governance and a governance evaluation checklist. The two bodies also ran a training programme with 19 out of 24 existing credit co-operatives attending the first training session.
Addressing the delegates, Ms Fu said the minister would ensure “adequate transitional arrangements” and support co-ops by providing training and resources to implement the required changes.