Singapore co-operators honoured in IYC celebrations

29 Jan 2013

The former Singaporean President S R Nathan and the late President C V Devan Nair were among those honoured at a special awards ceremony celebrating the end of the International Year of Co-operatives by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) on 19 January.

Over 30 co-operators, including seven esteemed figures, were honoured at the ceremony for their contributions to the growth of the Singapore Co-operative Movement.

Mr Chan Tee Seng, Chairman of SNCF, said: “Without their support, vision and leadership through the decades, the Co-operative Movement would not have thrived and achieved a reach as wide today.”

NTUC FairPrice Co-operative, which received the Rochdale Plaque in 1998, was given the Special Rochdale Award, a new category created to recognise the work that NTUC FairPrice has consistently accomplished in the last 15 years.

Another 22 co-operators and co-operatives were also recognised from sectors such as finance, education, retail and social welfare. The SNCF also awarded three young individuals scholarships, chosen from over 150 applicants. They were Li Mengzhu, 20, Joan Loh, 19 and Koh Wei Meng, 21.

Another new category created was the Special Commendation Medal, given to individual co-operators for their outstanding body of work and contribution towards the Singapore Co-operative Movement.

The Co-operative Champion award, specially created for individuals who championed the co-operative missions, honoured Seah Kian Peng, Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC and NTUC FairPrice Chief Executive Officer; Lim Boon Heng, former Secretary-General of NTUC and current Singapore Labour Foundation Deputy Chairman; Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, former Minister of State for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports; and S Chandra Das, Chairman of Central Co-operative Fund and former Chairman of NTUC FairPrice; Leow Ching Chuan,  Chairman of Seacare Co-operative Limited.

SNCF is also launching a new Grant Framework under the Central Co-operative Fund to address the specific needs of co-operatives and to assits them with their growth and development. The Grants can be used to set up co-ops or for existing co-ops to improve their productivity and services.

Mr Chan Tee Seng said: “The aim is to provide them with practical social entrepreneurial experience and provoke their sense of social mindedness. We have received very good support from the schools. We are working together with the Registry of Co-operative Societies to simplify the setup of co-operatives or form co-operative clubs in secondary schools to enable more young social entrepreneurs to use their passion and creativity to address social needs as part of character building."

Picture: A toast in celebration of the SNCF Honour Awards from: SNCF CEO Dolly Goh; NTUC Learning Hub CEO, and SNCF Executive Council 1st Vice Chairman Zee Yong Kang; Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information Lawrence Wong; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Secretary-General of NTUC Lim Swee Say; Chan Tee Seng; and Seah Kian Peng