The erudite, articulate and dynamic Singapore's Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam has been appointed Chairman of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) Board of Trustees. He succeeds Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who relinquished his position as Chairman of the Board, following him taking over as the President of Singapore.
Straight shooting Minister Shanmugam’s association with SINDA spans 32 years since 1991, when the charity organisation for Singaporean Indians was founded. He served as the organisation’s Advisor from 1991 to 2002, and was President of the Executive Committee (EXCO) from 2002 to 2009. He has been a Life Trustee since 2010.
Shanmugam helmed SINDA’s EXCO during challenging times, such as the economic slowdown and the SARS outbreak in 2003, during which he oversaw SINDA’s work in supporting those in need and introduced initiatives such as career placements and training, which benefited over 2,000 Singaporean Indians at that time. He also led SINDA’s efforts in providing holistic support to students, launching programmes such as the Back To School Festival (BTSF) in 2008, to provide financial support to disadvantaged students and their families, according to a media release by the organisation.
Tharman, the outgoing chairman, has also been closely involved with SINDA since its founding in 1991. He was a member of the Action Committee on Indian Education (ACIE) report in 1990, which led to the founding of SINDA.
He has been a Life Trustee of SINDA since 2005 and was appointed Chairman in 2008. As Chairman of SINDA over the last 15 years, he provided the leadership and guidance which enabled SINDA to play a significant role in improving the Indian community, the charity for the Singaporean Indians said.
Tharman also oversaw the SINDA Strategic Review in 2011, which shaped SINDA’s strategic thrusts and goals, with a greater focus on education, youth, family services and expanding support to households in need.
The recommendations stemming from this Review also saw a focus on early intervention initiatives, holistically supporting youth and family development. They also played a major role in contributing to improved academic performance of Indian students in the last decade, the release said.
Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development and President, SINDA said, “Mr Tharman led SINDA with both verve and heart. Under his chairmanship, SINDA transformed as an organisation and expanded its reach and programmes to serve the community better.
"On behalf of SINDA and the Indian community I wish to thank Mr Tharman for his vision, his leadership and his manifold contributions. Minister K Shanmugam is strongly connected with the Singaporean Indian community, has in-depth knowledge of SINDA and its work and is well-positioned to take SINDA to the next level.”
Earlier this month, SINDA kicked off its annual flagship initiative, Project Give (PG), to ensure that the needs of less-privileged students and families are looked after during the upcoming Deepavali festive period.