Our Constitution

Page last updated 23 Feb 2017.

CONSTITUTION OF HUMANIST SOCIETY (SINGAPORE)

NAME

1.1       This Society shall be known as the “Humanist Society (Singapore)”, hereinafter referred to as the “Society”.

 

PLACE OF BUSINESS

2.1       Its place of business shall be at “66, Cashew Road, #03-01, Cashew Park Condo, Singapore 679644or such other address as may subsequently be decided upon by the Committee and approved by the Registrar of Societies.  The Society shall carry out its activities only in places and premises which have the prior written approval from the relevant authorities, where necessary.

 

OBJECTIVES

3.1       Its objects are:

3.1.1   To encourage a rational approach to human problems, to promote the fullest possible use of science and the arts for human welfare, to defend freedom of expression, and to provide a constructive alternative to theological and dogmatic creeds.

3.1.2   To encourage and promote the idea that non-religious people have no less rights and privileges than those enjoyed by members of religious bodies.

3.1.3   To encourage informed and reasoned discussion of issues in a manner that shows respect for the individual and his or her views.

3.1.4   To encourage respect for the universal human rights of men and women free from discrimination on the basis of race, class, disability, gender, sexual orientation, age, or nationality.

3.1.5   To promote an understanding and awareness of humanism and its goals.

3.1.6   To raise awareness that a significant secular, non-religious segment of our society (free-thinkers, atheists and non-theists) exists and is an essential contributor to the well-being & progress of our society.

3.1.7 To uphold the importance of maintaining secular space in the interest of social harmony.

3.2       In furtherance of the above objects, the Society shall act in accordance with applicable laws of the country,

3.2.1   Organize talks and seminars for both its members and the general public.

3.2.2   Participate in public forums to discuss or promote the views of the society.

3.2.3   Organize social functions for its members to interact with one another.

3.2.4   Provide a database of informational materials in forms of DVDs, CDs, books and magazines available on loan to all members.

3.2.5   Provide and facilitate secular ceremonies for its members.

 

DEFINITION OF HUMANISM

3.3       Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance that affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethics based on human and other natural values in a spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality. (International Humanist and Ethical Union’s Minimum Statement of Humanism).

 

MEMBERSHIP QUALIFICATION AND RIGHTS

4.1      Membership is open to all who support and agree with the objectives of the society as described in Clause 3 herein.  A member is defined as a person who has made an application for membership of the Society and has been approved by the Committee and who has no outstanding arrears owed to the Society whether for membership fees or other amounts.

4.2       Persons who are below 18 years of age shall not be accepted as members without the written consent of their parent or guardian.

4.3       Only members who are above 21 years of age shall have the right to vote and to hold office in the Society.

 

APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

5.1       A person wishing to join the Society should submit his particulars to the Secretary on an Application for Membership.

5.2       As soon as practicable after receiving an application for membership, the Secretary shall refer the application to the Committee which shall determine whether to approve or to reject the application.  In no case shall the Committee be required to give any reason for the rejection of an applicant.

5.3       Where the committee determines to approve an application for membership, the Secretary shall, as soon as practicable after that determination, notify the applicant of that approval and request the applicant to pay within the period of 28 days after receipt by the applicant of the notification the sum payable under these rules as entrance fee and appropriate annual subscription.

5.4      The Secretary shall, on payment by the applicant of the amounts referred to in clause (5.3) within the period referred to in that clause, enter the applicant’s name in the register of members and, upon the name being so entered, the applicant becomes a member of the Society.

5.5       A copy of the Constitution shall be furnished to every approved member upon payment of the entrance fee.

 

ENTRANCE FEES, SUBSCRIPTIONS AND OTHER DUES

6.1       A member of the Society shall pay to the Society an annual membership fee of $20. Persons becoming members in the first half of the financial year shall pay a full year’s subscription; persons joining in the second half of the financial year shall pay half the annual subscription.

6.2       For retiree memberships, the yearly subscription is reduced by half. Student memberships are free up to undergraduate level.

6.3       Annual subscriptions are payable in advance within the first month of the year.  If a member falls into arrears with his subscription or other dues, he shall be informed immediately by the Treasurer.  If he fails to settle his arrears within two months of their becoming due, the President may order that his name be posted on the Society’s notice board and that he be denied the privileges of membership until he settles his account.  If he fails to settle his arrears for more than three (3) months, he will automatically cease to be a member.

6.4       Any additional funds required for special purposes may only be raised from members with the consent of the general meeting of the members.

6.5       The income and property of the Society whensoever derived shall be applied towards the promotion of the objects of the Society as set forth in this Constitution and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly by way of dividend or bonus or otherwise howsoever by way of profit to the persons who at any time are or have been members of the Society or to any of them or to any person claiming through any of them.

 

MEMBERSHIP POLICIES

7.1       Membership is not transferable. Unless stated otherwise in this Constitution, a right, privilege or obligation which a person has by reason of being a member of the Society is not capable of being transferred or transmitted to another person; and terminates upon cessation of the person’s membership.

Resignation of membership is by way of written notice to the Secretary of the member’s intention to resign and, upon the expiration of the period of notice, the member ceases to be a member. The required period of notice is two weeks. Membership fees already paid are not refundable upon resignation.

7.2       The liability of a member of the Society to contribute towards the payment of the debts and liabilities of the Society or the costs, charges and expenses of the winding up of the Society is limited to the amount unpaid by the member in respect of membership of the Society as required by clauses 6.1 and 6.2 above.

7.3       Resignation of membership is by way of written notice to the Secretary of the member’s intention to resign and, upon the expiration of the period of notice, the member ceases to be a member.

7.4       A person ceases to be a member of the Society if the person –

7.4.1   dies,

7.4.2   resigns that membership,

7.4.3   fails to pay his dues after three months (see clause 6.4 above),

7.4.4   is expelled from the Society.

7.5       Members are not allowed to speak on behalf of the society in any official discourse or communiqué unless given prior approval by the Committee.

7.6      Members may be expelled if, in the opinion of the Committee, he or she has:

7.6.1   Through his or her actions, or comments, brought the Society into disrepute.

7.6.2   Persistently refused or neglected to comply with the whole or any part of this Constitution.

7.6.3   Through his or her words or conduct, demonstrated that he or she  no longer shares the Objectives as stated in clause 3 hereto.

7.6.4   Failed to pay the annual subscription as stipulated in clause 6.4.

Decision on expulsion shall be made by a majority vote by the Committee. An aggrieved member may appeal within a month from the date of his expulsion, to the General Meeting of members, whose decision shall be final.

 

SUPREME AUTHORITY AND GENERAL MEETINGS

8.1       The supreme authority of the Society is vested in a General Meeting of the members.

8.2       An Annual General Meeting shall be held within 3 months after the close of the financial year.

8.3       At other times, an Extraordinary General Meeting must be called by the President on the request in writing of not less than 25% of the total voting membership or thirty (30) voting members, whichever is the lesser, and may be called at anytime by order of the Committee.  The notice in writing shall be given to the Secretary setting forth the business that is to be transacted.  The Extraordinary General Meeting shall be convened within two (2) months from receiving this request to convene the Extraordinary General Meeting.

8.4       If the Committee does not within two (2) months after the date of the receipt of the written request proceed to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting, the members who requested for the Extraordinary General Meeting shall convene the Extraordinary General Meeting by giving ten (10) days’ notice to voting members setting forth the business to be transacted and simultaneously posting the agenda on the Society’s notice board.

8.5       At least two (2) weeks’ notice shall be given of an Annual General Meeting and at least ten (10) days’ notice of an Extraordinary General Meeting.  Notice of meeting stating the date, time and place of meeting shall be sent by the Secretary to all voting members.  The particulars of the agenda shall be posted on the Society’s website and sent by e-mail to all members 4 days in advance of the meeting.

8.6       Unless otherwise stated in this Constitution, voting by proxy is allowed at all General Meetings.

8.6.1   Each member shall be entitled to appoint a proxy by notice given to the Secretary no later than 48 hours before the time of the meeting in respect of which the proxy is appointed.

8.6.2   The form for submitting a proxy shall be obtained from the Committee.

8.7       The following points will be considered at the Annual General Meeting:

  1. The previous financial year’s accounts and annual report of the Committee.
  2. Where applicable, the election of office‑bearers and Honorary Auditors for the following term.

Any member who wishes to place an item on the agenda of a General Meeting may do so provided he gives notice to the Secretary one (1) week before the meeting is due to be held.

8.8       At least 25% of the total voting membership or thirty (30) voting members, whichever is the lesser, present at a General Meeting shall form a quorum.  Proxies shall not be constituted as part of the quorum.

8.9       In the event of there being no quorum at the commencement of a General Meeting, the meeting shall be adjourned for half an hour and should the number then present be insufficient to form a quorum, those present shall be considered a quorum, but they shall have no power to amend any part of the existing Constitution.

8.10    A member or proxy is not entitled to vote at any general meeting of the Society unless all monies due and payable by the member or proxy to the Society stipulated under clauses 6.1 and 6.2 above have been paid one month before the general meeting.

 

MANAGEMENT AND COMMITTEE

9.1       The administration of the Society shall be entrusted to a Committee consisting of the following to be elected at the Annual General Meeting:

A President

A Vice‑President

A Secretary

An Assistant Secretary

A Treasurer

Three (3) Ordinary Committee Members

Unless with the prior approval in writing of the Registrar or an Assistant Registrar of Societies, majority of the Committee Members shall be Singapore Citizens.  In addition, the President, Secretary, Treasurer and their deputies shall be Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents.  Foreign Diplomats shall not serve as Committee Members.

9.1.1   Members shall only be eligible to stand for election upon satisfying a           minimum membership period prior to the date of the Annual General     Meeting. The requisite periods are:

For the posts of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer: At       least one year.

For the posts of Assistant Secretary and Committee Members: At least six months.

9.2     Names for the above offices shall be proposed and seconded in writing and submitted to the Secretary not more than two (2) months and not less than one (1) month before the Annual General Meeting. The election will follow on a simple majority vote of the members.  All office-bearers, except the Treasurer, may be re‑elected to the same or related post for consecutive terms of office.  The term of office of any member of the Committee is two (2) years.

9.3     Half of the committee’s posts shall be open for election every year. The posts that are to be open for election together on alternate years shall be as follows:

Year 1 Year 2
President Vice President
Assistant Secretary Secretary
Committee Member Treasurer
Committee Member Committee Member

9.3       Election will be either by show of hands or, subject to the agreement of the majority of the voting members present, by a secret ballot.  In the event of a tie, the Chairman of the meeting shall have a casting vote.

9.4       A Committee Meeting shall be held at least once every two (2) months after giving seven (7) days’ notice to Committee Members.  The President may call a Committee Meeting at any time by giving five (5) days’ notice.  Majority of the Committee Members must be present for its proceedings to be valid.

9.5       Any member of the Committee absenting himself from three (3) meetings consecutively without satisfactory explanations shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the Committee and a successor may be co-opted by the Committee to serve until the next Annual General Meeting.  Any changes in the Committee shall be notified to the Registrar of Societies within two (2) weeks of the change.

9.6       The duty of the Committee is to organise and supervise the daily activities of the Society.  The Committee may not act contrary to the expressed wishes of the General Meeting without prior reference to it and shall always remain subordinate to the General Meetings.

9.7       The Committee has power to authorise the expenditure of a sum not exceeding $1,000 per month from the Society’s funds for the Society’s purposes.

 

DUTIES OF OFFICE‑BEARERS

10.1    The President shall chair all General and Committee meetings.  He shall also represent the Society in its dealings with outside persons.

10.2    The Vice‑President shall assist the President and deputise for him in his absence.

10.3    The Secretary shall keep all records, except financial, of the Society and shall be responsible for their correctness.  He will keep minutes of all General and Committee meetings.  He shall maintain an up‑to‑date Register of Members at all times.

10.4    The Assistant Secretary shall assist the Secretary and deputise for him in his absence.

10.5    The Treasurer shall keep all funds and collect and disburse all moneys on behalf of the Society and shall keep an account of all monetary transactions and shall be responsible for their correctness.  He is authorised to expend up to $100 per month for petty expenses on behalf of the Society.  He will not keep more than $200 in the form of cash and money in excess of this will be deposited in a bank to be named by the Committee.  Cheques, etc. for withdrawals from the bank will be signed by the Treasurer and either the President or the Vice‑President or the Secretary.

10.6    Ordinary Committee Members shall assist in the general administration of the Society and perform duties assigned by the Committee from time to time.

 

AUDIT AND FINANCIAL YEAR

11.1    Two (2) voting members, not being members of the Committee, shall be elected as Honorary Auditors at each Annual General Meeting and will hold office for a term of one year only and shall not be re‑elected for a consecutive term. The accounts of the Society shall be audited by a firm of Certified Public Accountants if the gross income or expenditure of the Society exceeds $500,000 in that financial year, in accordance with Section 4 of the Societies Regulations.

11.2    They:

  1. Will be required to audit each year’s accounts and present a report upon them to the Annual General Meeting.
  2. May be required by the President to audit the Society’s accounts for any period within their tenure of office at any date and make a report to the Committee.

11.3    The financial year shall be from 1st January to 31st December.

 

PROHIBITIONS

12.1    Gambling of any kind, excluding the promotion or conduct of a private lottery which has been permitted under the Private Lotteries Act Cap 250, is forbidden on the Society’s premises.  The introduction of materials for gambling or drug taking and of bad characters into the premises is prohibited.

12.2    The funds of the Society shall not be used to pay the fines of members who have been convicted in court of law.

12.3    The Society shall not engage in any trade union activity as defined in any written law relating to trade unions for the time being in force in Singapore.

12.4    The Society shall not indulge in any political activity or allow its funds and/or premises to be used for political purposes.

12.5    The Society shall not hold any lottery, whether confined to its members or not, in the name of the Society or its office‑bearers, Committee or members unless with the prior approval of the relevant authorities.

12.6    The Society shall not raise funds from the public for whatever purposes without the prior approval in writing of the Assistant Director Operations, Licensing Division, Singapore Police Force and other relevant authorities.

 

AMENDMENTS TO CONSTITUTION

13.1    The Society shall not amend its Constitution without the prior approval in writing of the Registrar of Societies. No alteration or addition/deletion to this Constitution shall be passed except at a general meeting and with the consent of two-thirds (2/3) of the voting members present at the General Meeting.

13.2    Any motion to amend the constitution must be submitted in writing to the Secretary not more than two (2) months and not less than one (1) month before a general meeting.

 

INTERPRETATION

14.1    In the event of any question or matter pertaining to day-to-day administration which is not expressly provided for in this Constitution, the Committee shall have power to use their own discretion.  The decision of the Committee shall be final unless it is reversed at a General Meeting of members.

 

DISPUTES

15.1    In the event of any dispute arising amongst members, they shall attempt to resolve the matter at an Extraordinary General Meeting in accordance with this Constitution.  Should the members fail to resolve the matter, they may bring the matter to a court of law for settlement.

 

DISSOLUTION

16.1    The Society shall not be dissolved, except with the consent of not less than three-fifths (3/5) of the total voting membership of the Society for the time being resident in Singapore expressed, either in person or by proxy, at a General Meeting convened for the purpose.

16.2    In the event of the Society being dissolved as provided above, all debts and liabilities legally incurred on behalf of the Society shall be fully discharged, and the remaining funds will be disposed of in such manner as the General Meeting of members may determine or donated to an approved charity or charities in Singapore.

16.3    A Certificate of Dissolution shall be given within seven (7) days of the dissolution to the Registrar of Societies.

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