Co-operative Societies Act

(Original Enactment: Act 17 of 1979)

(31st July 2009)
An Act to make better provision for the registration and regulation of co-operative societies, and for matters connected therewith.
[1st January 1980]
Short title
1.  This Act may be cited as the Co-operative Societies Act.
2.—(1)  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“allowance” means the remuneration paid to a member of the committee of management of a society in consideration of his voluntary services rendered to the society on a regular basis;
“apex organisation” means an organisation established to facilitate the operations of all primary and secondary co-operative societies in Singapore;
“audit committee”, in relation to a credit society, means the audit committee of the credit society referred to in section 36;
“auditor”, in relation to a society, means any person referred to in section 33(1) or 36(4)(b);
“body corporate” includes a limited liability partnership;
“by-laws” means the registered by-laws made by a society in the exercise of any power conferred by this Act, and includes a registered amendment of the by-laws;
“Central Co-operative Fund” means the fund established under section 71;
“committee of management” means the governing body of a society which is responsible for the management of the affairs of the society;
“credit society” means a society which is registered as a credit society;
“delegate” means —
(a)a representative of a certain number of individual members of a primary society in which the general meeting of members is replaced by a meeting of delegates;
(b)a representative of an institutional member who has been appointed to attend and who is entitled to vote; or
(c)a representative of a society which is itself a member of another society, the meetings of which the representative has been elected or appointed to attend, and at which he is entitled to vote under the by-laws of that other society;
“deposit” means money received on current or deposit account and includes subscription capital, but does not include —
(a)a deposit that is paid pursuant to a hire-purchase agreement, or that is referable to the provision of services or to the giving of security; and
(b)such other deposit as may be prescribed;
“dividend” means a portion of the net surplus of a society distributed among the members in proportion to the paid-up share capital or subscription capital held by them in the society;
“financial service” means receiving deposits, granting loans, or such other service of a financial nature as may be prescribed, other than in relation to the carrying on of insurance business within the meaning of the Insurance Act (Cap. 142);
“honorarium” means a portion of the net surplus of a society distributed among some or all of the members of the committee of management in consideration of their services which would not otherwise be remunerated;
“institutional member” means a society or a trade union;
“key employee” means a chief executive officer, chief operating officer or chief financial officer, or a person holding a position analogous to that of chief executive officer, chief operating officer or chief financial officer, and includes a person purporting to act in any such capacity;
“limited liability partnership” has the same meaning as in section 2(1) of the Limited Liability Partnerships Act (Cap. 163A);
“member” includes an individual person or institution qualifying for membership in a co-operative society, who or which join in the application for the registration of a society, and an individual person or institution admitted to membership after registration in accordance with this Act, the Rules and the by-laws;
“net surplus” means the remaining portion of the surplus after provisions have been made for the Central Co-operative Fund and the Singapore Labour Foundation in accordance with section 71;
“non-credit society” means a society that is not a credit society;
“officer” includes a chairman, vice-chairman, director, secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer, member of committee of management, employee, internal auditor, liquidator or other person empowered under this Act, the Rules or the by-laws, to give directives in regard to the business of a society or to supervise the business;
“parent society” means a society with one or more subsidiaries;
“past officer”, in relation to any obligation imposed under this Act, means a person who at any time before the occurrence of the obligation was, or performed the duties of, an officer;
“patronage refund” means a portion of the net surplus of a society distributed among its members in proportion to the volume of business done by them with the society from which the surplus of the society was derived;
“primary society” means a registered society all of whose members are individual persons who, or institutions which, have the qualifications for membership set out in section 39;
“public accountant” means a person who is registered or deemed to be registered under the Accountants Act (Cap. 2) as a public accountant;
“registered” means registered under this Act;
“Registrar” means the Registrar of Co-operative Societies and the Assistant Registrars of Co-operative Societies appointed under section 3, and includes a person exercising such powers of the Registrar as may have been conferred upon him under that section;
“Rules” means rules made under section 95;
“secondary society” means a registered society all of whose registered members are co-operative societies, trade unions, or co-operative societies and trade unions;
“share” includes subscriptions payable by a member under the by-laws of a society;
“Singapore Labour Foundation” means the Singapore Labour Foundation established under the Singapore Labour Foundation Act (Cap. 303);
“society” means a co-operative society registered under this Act and includes a primary society, a secondary society and an apex organisation;
“subscription capital” means a regular obligatory savings deposit (made by members in accordance with the by-laws) which is intended to serve as guarantee capital for loans taken or guaranteed by a member and which may not be withdrawn except for such specific purposes and under such conditions as are laid down in the by-laws or except on a termination of membership;
“subsidiary”, in relation to a society, means any body corporate (including another society) or body unincorporate which is controlled by the society;
“surplus” means the economic results of a society as shown in the audited financial statements of that society after provisions have been made for depreciation and bad debts but does not include, in the case of an insurance co-operative, that portion of the surplus used for declaration of bonus to policy-holders or retained in the insurance fund;
“trade union” means a trade union registered under the Trade Unions Act (Cap. 333);
“written direction” means a written direction issued under section 93(2).
[13/90; 23/2008]
(2)  For the purposes of this Act, a society shall be deemed to control a body corporate or body unincorporate if, and only if, the society is in a position to determine or govern the financial and operating policies of the body corporate or body unincorporate.
Appointment of Registrar and Assistant Registrars
3.—(1)  The Minister may appoint a Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Assistant Registrars of Co-operative Societies and such other officers as he thinks necessary for the administration of this Act.
(2)  The Registrar may, subject to the provisions of this Act and to any general or special directions of the Minister, delegate any of his functions under this Act to an Assistant Registrar or to a co-operative officer.
(3)  The Registrar shall have a seal of such device as may be approved by the Minister.