People's Association (Singapore)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from People's Association)
Jump to: navigation, search
People's Association
Logo of the People's Association
Agency overview
Formed 1 July 1960
Jurisdiction Government of Singapore
Headquarters 9 King George's Avenue, Singapore 208581
Agency executive
  • Ang Hak Seng[1], Chief Executive Director
Parent agency Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

The People's Association (PA) was established in Singapore as a statutory board on 1 July 1960 to promote racial harmony and social cohesion. PA commemorated its 50th Anniversary in 2010.


The People's Association's (PA) logo is made up of one continuous element. This supposedly represents the PA's mission of connecting Singaporeans from all ethnic backgrounds to promote active citizenry and multiracial harmony. Different communities, represented by the circles, keep their distinct identities and cultural values while moving and interacting with one another in the common space. Our vision is one of all communities bonding closely together, increasing the common space and strengthening the nation. Red symbolises the passion and spirit of the different communities. It also supposedly signifies the growth and maturity of the people and the PA.[citation needed]


The former headquarters of the People's Association at the old Kallang Airport. As of 6 April 2009, it has been relocated to the old Victoria School at King George's Avenue.

To counter racial and political tensions in Singapore during the 1950s and 1960s, and foster closer ties among different ethnic groups,[2] the Government established the PA through an Act of Parliament, the People's Association Act.[3] The statutory board came into being on 1 July 1960. According to the Act, the objects of the PA are, among other things:[4]

(a) the organisation and the promotion of group participation in social, cultural, educational and athletic activities for the people of Singapore in order that they may realise that they belong to a multiracial community, the interests of which transcend sectional loyalties;

(b) the establishment of such institutions as may be necessary for the purpose of leadership training to instil in leaders a sense of national identity and a spirit of dedicated service to a multiracial community;

(c) the fostering of community bonding and strengthening of social cohesion amongst the people of Singapore;

(d) the performance of such other functions as may be conferred upon the Association by any written law; and

(e) the carrying out of such activities as appear to the Board to be advantageous towards, or necessary or convenient for, the furtherance of the objects of the Association as set out in paragraphs (a) to (d).

According to the Central Intelligence Agency of the US government, the People's Association had its origins as a national building programme 'designed to wean pro-Communist voters away from the opposition'. Besides serving as a communication channel between the government and ruling party at the top and the people below - making way for a more responsive government - it was also intended for the PA to blur the boundaries between the government and the party, such that 'the people tended to praise the party for activities undertaken by the government'.[5]


According to the People's Association Act, the Association consists of:[6]

  1. the Prime Minister, who is Chairman of the Association;
  2. a Minister (typically a senior member of Cabinet) who is to be appointed by the chairman as Deputy chairman;
  3. eight other members to be appointed by the chairman; and
  4. one member to be appointed by the chairman in consultation with each of the organisations mentioned in the First Schedule to the Act. More than 80 civic organisations are listed in the First Schedule, ranging from the Football Association of Singapore, to the National University of Singapore Society, to the Singapore Stamp Club.[7]

The powers of the PA and the management and control of the Association and its property and affairs is vested in a Board of Management.[8] The Board consists of the persons mentioned in the first three categories listed above, and four members who are elected from among themselves by the persons mentioned in the fourth category at a general meeting of the Association. The Secretary-Treasurer of the Association shall be the Secretary-Treasurer of the Board.[9]

Grassroots Organisations[edit]

The PA endeavours to achieve its objects by creating common space; bringing people of different ethnic origins and from all walks of life together to interact, make friends, help one another and to participate in social, cultural, educational, recreational, sporting and charitable activities, and in doing so strengthen community spirit and resilience. Starting with 28 community centres,[2] today the PA has over 1,800 grassroots organisations (GROs) with more than 25,000 volunteer grassroots leaders. Grassroots volunteers visit residents to encourage community involvement, raise awareness about community issues, explain government policies and gather feedback, as well as help those in need. On the other hand, staff at PA are fully paid and do not take part in any decision making processes. They are only to provide support to the GROs. The GROs include Citizens' Consultative Committees, Community Club Management Committees, Residents' Committees in public housing estates and Neighbourhood Committees in private housing estates.[citation needed]

Citizens' Consultative Committees[edit]

The Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC) is the umbrella grassroots organisation in a constituency in Singapore. CCCs plan and lead grassroots activities in a constituency, they oversee community and welfare programmes and they also act as a feedback channel between the government and the people.[10] The first CCC was created in January 1965 to carry out the following functions:

i. To transmit information and make recommendations on the needs of the people to the government, and to keep people informed of government action and policy in these matters.

ii. To promote good citizenship amongst the people of Singapore.[11]

From their inception, the government of Singapore saw the CCCs as playing a key role in managing communal relations. Following the 1964 race riots in Singapore, village and clan leaders in the CCCs were mobilised to help maintain racial harmony.[12]

Currently the CCCs main role is in the organisation of programmes to support the PA. CCCs support the government in nationwide campaigns such as dengue prevention, Clean & Green Week, Racial Harmony Month and Good Neighbour Day. They also organise community forums and administer welfare assistance.[13]

Members in the CCC are volunteers appointed by the chairman once every two years and this appointment has to be approved by the Adviser (MPs). Members usually have a background in politics or are significant contributors in the Singapore scene.

Community Club Management Committees[edit]

Community Club Management Committees (CCMCs) help build, manage and maintain all our Community Clubs (CCs). CCs are the common meeting ground for residents from all walks of life by providing numerous recreational activities and learning opportunities. CCs also connect residents and the Government by providing relevant information and gathering feedback on national concerns and policies. Each CC serves about 15,000 households or an average of 50,000 people.

CCMCs promote racial harmony and social cohesion through the various cultural, educational, recreational, sporting, social and other community-based activities organised specially for residents. CCMCs manage all the CCs, ensure that all CCs keep up with the expectations and needs of residents, and organise creative and innovative courses and activities for residents in the community.[citation needed] CCMCs are made up of volunteers who work with full-time staff to manage the CCs.

Residents' Committees[edit]

Residents' Committees (RCs) were first established in 1978 in two constituencies in Singapore (Tanjong Pagar and Marine Parade) with the aim of promoting neighbourly interaction, good communal relations and overall cohesion.[14][15] RCs also serve as channels of communication between residents and the Government. RCs, like CCCs, initially came under the Prime Minister's Office, and later, the Ministry of Community Development. In 1993, RCs and CCCs came under the purview of the PA. Currently, there are over 550 RCs. Each RC has an RC Centre to conduct meetings and programmes and activities for residents. RCs organise residents' parties, conduct house visits and other neighbourhood activities to reach out to residents. They also work closely with the government agencies to improve the living environment, safety and security of their estates. The Residents' Committee are run by volunteers.

Neighbourhood Committees[edit]

Neighbourhood Committees (NCs) were formed in June 1998 to encourage active citizenry and foster stronger community bonds within private housing estates. They also work with various government agencies to improve the social and physical environment in their private housing estates.

NCs' functions are to:

(a) Promote neighbourliness, harmony and cohesiveness amongst residents; (b) Connect with and make recommendations to government authorities on the needs and aspirations of residents; (c) Disseminate information and obtain feedback on government policies and actions from the residents; and (d) Foster good citizenship amongst residents.

Youth Executive Committees[edit]

The PA Youth Executive Committee (YEC) is the managing body for the Youth Group in a Community Club. It organises a wide range of activities and projects ranging from sports and recreation to culture, arts and community service.

The role of YECs include:

(a) Developing programmes for youths and setting up subcommittees to implement its activities (b) Working closely with the Community Club Management Committee and other grassroots organisations in putting together community development projects; and (c) Connecting with other Youth Clubs and the Council to support the People’s Association Youth Movement (PAYM)

The T-Net Club (Teens Network Club), part of the People’s Association network, is a non-profit teens organisation.It organises a wide range of activities to engage teenagers and develop their potential. These include educational, social/recreational, cultural and performing arts, sporting and community service activities.

Over the years, the T-Net Club has developed several flagship events such as the T-Net Club Sports Fiesta, T-Net Club Premier League, T-Net Club Basketball Tournament, and the T-Net Club “Bowl with a Heart” Community Service Project. Together with the Educational Series in Mathematics, History, Chinese and Malay, and the Sudoku and Sports Quizzes, these events help extend the Club’s outreach to the teenage community.

Community Sports Clubs[edit]

The People’s Association works through Community Sports Clubs (CSCs) to foster community bonding through a wide array of sports activities for residents to participate and interact with one another.

Over the years, the CSCs’ flagship programmes have included the One Community Walk, and the Community Sports Festival. In 2016, to continue the vibrancy of the CSCs, a new flagship programme, the Community Sports Day, would be introduced, along with the evergreen programmes of the likes of Children’s Football League and the popular Singapore Community Games.

Other than the HQ flagship programmes, the CSCs activities at the grassroots level also includes an array of activities, ranging from brisk walks, mass swims, sports carnivals, bowling, badminton, football and sepak takraw and in recent years also included frisbie, kinball and fuzionball.

Community Emergency and Engagement Committees[edit]

The Community Emergency and Engagement (C2E) Committees is the community Emergency Preparedness (EP) Unit formed in each constituency. The C2E Committees is the amalgamation of the former Emergency Preparedness Group and Civil Defence Executive Committees. C2E Committees help strengthen community resilience by involving residents, grassroots leaders, educational institutions, business, religious, voluntary welfare organisations and other community partners in Community Emergency Preparedness programmes. Each of the 84 constituencies has formed a C2E Committees to enhance our capability to effectively respond to, and quickly recover from any emergency.

During peace time, C2E Committees develop and maintain the Community Emergency Preparedness plans, structures and systems. The C2E Committees also organise exercises and EP activities to be prepared for emergencies and to ensure operational readiness. C2E Committees partner various government emergency authorities to educate the community about Community Emergency Preparedness. During times of emergency, C2E Committees will respond by co-ordinating community resources and grassroots’ emergency response efforts. Together with other grassroots organisations, the C2E Committees will also help emergency authorities to disseminate critical information and collect feedback and will help defuse community tension and restore public confidence and normalcy.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is an organised group of volunteers equipped with special training to respond to an emergency and assist the community in the recovery process. The main role of the CERT is to strengthen the emergency response capabilities of the local community.

First formed in 2004 at the Residents' Committee and Neighbourhood Committee zonal level to support the EPG and CDEC, CERT members are made up of grassroots leaders and residents who are staying in the vicinity. Being closer to the ground, they can respond to an emergency before the arrival of the emergency authorities. CERT members assist in rendering basic first aid, evacuation and crowd control before and after the emergency authorities arrive. Role of a CERT member:

(a) Help the community respond to and recover from emergencies (b) Disseminate critical information to residents (c) Work together with constituency emergency units to organise EP days and other EP programmes for residents (d) Help identify residents requiring special assistance during emergencies

Members receive the following trainings: Community Emergency Preparedness Programme (CEPP, Standard First Aid Training (with 3 years certification), Basic Cardiac Life Support Course (with 2 years certification), and Crisis Intervention Workshop.

Women's Executive Committees[edit]

The Women’s Integration Network (WIN) Council was established in March 1995 with representatives from the Women’s Executive Committees (WECs). The Council sets directions for WECs to inspire more women towards community leadership and contribution. The objectives of the WEC are :

(a) Widen outreach to women of all races to build strong bonds among them; (b) Engage women and their families in activities and programmes that meet their needs and interests; (c) Create opportunities for women to participate in community and national affairs.

Senior Citizens' Executive Committees[edit]

The Senior Citizens’ Executive Committee plans and organises a wide array of activities and courses to enrich the life experiences of seniors. These include arts and culture, lifestyle pursuits, lifelong learning, and sports and wellness programmes. The PA Active Ageing Council (AA Council) champions the cause of active ageing and creates a supportive environment for active ageing elements to flourish in grassroots programmes. The functions of the PA AA Council includes promoting community bonding through active ageing programmes in collaboration with the Senior Citizens’ Executive Committees (SCECs) and other grassroots organisations and community partners. The PA AA Council will also conceptualise and organise programmes in support of active ageing.

Indian Activity Executive Committees[edit]

The Indian Activity Executive Committees (IAECs) organise cultural, educational, social, recreational and sporting activities to promote mutual respect and harmonious relations between Indians and other communities. The Indian Activity Executive Committees Council or Narpani Pearavai is the co-ordinating body for the IAECs. Narpani Pearavai organises many events annually at the Constituency, District and National levels.

Malay Activity Executive Committees[edit]

MESRA is the co-ordinating body for Malay Activity Executive Committees (MAECs) that are set up at Community Clubs.

The functions of MESRA are to:

(a) Guide MAECs in engaging the community through a wide range of outreach programmes; (b) Assist MAECs and other GROs to identify and recruit suitable Malay grassroots leaders; and (c) Facilitate collaborations between MAECs and other GROs in the larger community.

Annually, MESRA organises Gentarasa, the biggest Malay cultural show in Singapore that aims to build an appreciation for and understanding of the Malay culture amongst the other communities. MESRA also holds regular dialogue sessions to discuss issues concerning the Malay community.

Community Development Councils[edit]

First established in 1997, Community Development Councils (CDCs)[16] were formed to help build a more cohesive, compassionate and self-reliant society. Initially, the CDCs offered local programmes to meet the needs of the residents in their districts. From 2001, the delivery of social services, including the development of childcare, student care and family care centres was devolved from the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports to the CDCs. As CDCs are closer to the ground, they are better able than government ministries to promptly address the needs of residents. The CDCs also play an important role in mobilising the community to help needy residents, including giving them interim financial assistance and helping them find jobs.

The CDCs offer services identified under the common strategic goals of 'ABC': Assisting the Needy,Bonding the People, and Connecting the Community.

Each of the current five CDCs – Central Singapore,[17] North East,[18] North West,[19] South East[20] and South West.[21] – is headed by a mayor who is assisted by a council comprising up to 80 council members. Unlike other countries, mayors in Singapore are not directly elected because the CDCs are not a system of local government, but local administrators of community and social services.

Community Clubs[edit]

When self-government was attained in 1959, many Singaporeans were faced with poor employment prospects and had little opportunity for skills training. Recreational, social and sports facilities were few and far in between.

The PA converted former food distribution centres set up by the British administration into community centres. These centres were venues for residents of all walks of life to get together to learn a skill, engage in social and leisure activities, and forge a sense of community.

Over the years, with economic progress, community centres have evolved into Community Clubs (CCs) offering a wide range of courses, activities, programmes and facilities to match the changing needs of residents. The Clubs are run by a group of volunteers called CC Management Committee. The functions of the Committee are: (a) to manage the Community Centre/Club for and on behalf of the People's Association;
(b) to promote social, cultural, educational, sports and recreational activities for the residents in the neighbourhood of the Community Centre/Club;
(c) to disseminate information on Government policies, and to transmit to the Government information on the needs and aspirations of the residents in the neighbourhood of the Community Centre/Club; and
(d) to promote good citizenship among residents in the neighbourhood of the Community Centre/Club.

Other PA Organisations[edit]

In addition to its network of grassroots organisations, the PA also operates Outward Bound Singapore, the National Community Leadership Institute, the National Youth Council of Singapore and a water sport club called Water-Venture.

National Community Leadership Institute[edit]

NACLI or National Community Leadership Institute is the training facility of PA, established in 1964. It conducts workshops, facilitates workplan retreats, and organises dialogues and other learning events. The Institute anchors its training and development of grassroots leaders on the Community LEAD framework; a comprehensive and holistic approach to developing core leadership competencies in grassroots leaders. NACLI also collaborates with Institutes of Higher Learning to offer Joint Certification Programmes as part of its curriculum. The Institute's training and accommodation facilities are available for rental, and based on availability of resources, NACLI also conducts student leadership and corporate teambuilding programmes.

Water Venture[edit]

The Water-Venture (WV) outlets offer a range of land and water sports activities like sports climbing, abseiling, kayaking, sailing, dragon boating, windsurfing and power boating to the community. Interesting children's programmes are also offered. In October 2014, WV took on a new portfolio to spread awareness to the community & initiate a call-to-action to protect our environment through waste management and a change in our everyday-behaviour. Currently, there are eight WV outlets which are run by professional staff and assisted by a dedicated pool of trainers and volunteers.[citation needed]

PA Youth Movement[edit]

The People's Association Youth Movement (PAYM) is Singapore's largest youth organisation. Started in 1971, the PAYM caters to youths aged 12 to 35 years old It is a two-tiered organisation, comprising 101 Youth Clubs based in the Community Clubs and the Central Youth Council. Some of the youth-inspired events that PAYM has organised include "City Alive! 2009", Singapore's Biggest Dance Party; "YOUTHSpeak on Budget 2009", a National-level Policy Forum; and "Heart to Heart We Serve the Community", a series of community service activities. Overseas community service projects include trips to Cambodia, Maldives and China, such as Project "INitiate"; and Hip Hop competition "Pop Culture" amongst other international exchanges.

Programmes at PA[edit]

PA enables and encourages residents to form groups and develop friendships around common interests. PA courses, activities and interest groups are channels for residents and citizens to pursue their interests and fulfil their learning and self-improvement needs.

Lifeskills and Lifestyles- The Community Clubs (CCs) offer lifeskills and lifestyle courses.Their three flagship programmes include: Modern Living, Citarasa Kini and PA Kiddies.

Youth- The PA has a wide range of youth programmes and activities like adventure, sports, and knowledge suitable for all teens. Activities for the youth ainclude: PAYM Programmes, T-Net Programmes, NYC Programmes, and OBS Programmes.

Family- The PA runs a wide range of sports programmes. These include activities for singles, couples, young parents, grandparents and men. Categories of programmes include: Family Life, Active Ageing, Women’s Programmes

Sports- The PA works through Constituency Sports Clubs (CSCs) to foster community bonding through a wide array of sports activities for residents to participate and interact with one another. The CSCs’ flagship programmes include the Community Sports Festival, the People’s Association Children’s Football League, and the Inter-Constituency Games. Other activities organised by the CSCs include brisk walks, mass swims, sports carnivals, bowling, badminton, football and sepak takraw.

Racial Harmony- The programmes organised by the PA are open to everyone. They are common spaces for people of different races, languages, religions and socio-economic backgrounds to interact and get to know one another better.

Emergency Preparedness- The PA and its Grassroots Organisations' (GROs) Emergency Preparedness Programmes seek to build up community skills and knowledge in coping with emergencies. Through these Programmes, residents will learn emergency preparedness skills and get involved in emergency exercises. A wide range of Emergency Preparedness activities and programmes are organised at the constituencies all year round. Through the Community Emergency and Engagement Committee (C2E) and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the PA and its GROs work with other emergency authorities to prepare, train and support the community to deal with emergencies which include the threat of terrorism. The initiatives include: Community Emergency Preparedness Day, Publication of Grassroots Emergency Response Guide Book, Community Safety and Security Programme, and Community Engagement Programme.

Community Integration- PA has a series of programmes to engage and help new citizens and Permanent Residents to settle into their new environment, and to create more opportunities for interaction between them and their local community.

Community Dialogue- The PA and its grassroots organisations regularly organises forums and seminars that give residents the opportunity to find out more about government policies and initiatives, to have their concerns addressed and to offer feedback to help refine policies and initiatives.

PA Talents[edit]

PA Talents is an umbrella group for more than 300 part-time musicians and dancers performing traditional, ethnic art forms. In 2006, Cultural Medallion recipient Dick Lee was appointed its creative director.[22][23]

Formerly known as the PA Cultural Talents, it was set up in 1965 as a performing unit with full-time performers to bring arts and cultural performances to the masses by performing in community centres. It was one of the first groups in Singapore to create multi-ethnic performances in the early 1980s. In 1997, following a strategic review, the group ceased having full-time performers due to limited resources and now relies on a pool of part-timers.[22]

PA Talents consists of ten groups: five orchestras (Orkestra Melayu Singapura, the PA Youth Chinese Orchestra, the Singapore Indian Orchestra and Choir, the Singapore Pipe Band and the Singapore Pop Orchestra), and five dance groups (the Chinese, Indian, Malay and Modern Dance Groups, and a hip-hop club). About a hundred performances are staged each year in national and grassroots shows such as the National Day Parade and Chingay Parade, in commercial shows for corporations, and in cultural and diplomatic events in Singapore and abroad.[22]

PAssion Card[edit]

Introduced in April 2005, the PAssion Card is a membership card for the People's Association (PA). It serves the purpose of connecting members of the public with their community by engaging in activities by Community Clubs (CCs) and other PA outlets. It offers admission and membership discounts at a number of commercial establishment, and entitles the member to the library and other services.


  1. ^ "New chief executives for PA, National Heritage Board and National Art Gallery". Channel NewsAsia. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "History of PA". People's Association. 2006-08-05. Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  3. ^ People's Association Act 1960 (Ordinance No. 35 of 1960), now the People's Association Act (Cap. 227, 2000 Rev. Ed.)
  4. ^ People's Association Act, above, ss. 8(a)–(c).
  5. ^ Kimball, Walter B. "Singapore's People's Association", CIA Historical Review Programme, 22 September 1993, accessed 16 May 2011.
  6. ^ People's Association Act, above, ss. 4(1)(a)–(d).
  7. ^ These organisations are also listed on the PA's website: see "PA Corporate Members". People's Association. 2007-08-26. Archived from the original on 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2007-08-26. 
  8. ^ People's Association Act, above, s. 3.
  9. ^ People's Association Act, above, s. 5(1).
  10. ^ Bilveer Singh, Politics and Governance in Singapore (Singapore, 2007), p. 68.
  11. ^ The Citizens' Consultative Committee Rules (Singapore, Government Printers, 1974), quoted in Bilveer Singh, Politics and Governance in Singapore (Singapore, 2007), p. 68.
  12. ^ Hussin Mutalib, Parties and Politics: A Study of Opposition Parties and the PAP in Singapore (Second Edition) (Singapore, 2004), p. 287.
  13. ^ [1] Archived 26 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Residents' Committees are formed - Singapore History". Retrieved 2016-07-05. 
  15. ^ Kenneth Paul Andrew Sze-Sian Tan, 'Democracy and the Grassroots Sector in Singapore', Space and Polity 7 (1) (2003), p. 3.
  16. ^ "Community Development Councils". 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  17. ^ "Central Singapore". Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  18. ^ "Welcome to NECDC". 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  19. ^ "Welcome to NWCDC". Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  20. ^ "Welcome to SECDC". 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  21. ^ "Welcome to Southwest CDC". 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  22. ^ a b c Chia, Adeline (2007-08-23). "How PA Talents Came to Be". The Straits Times (Life!). p. 2. 
  23. ^ Chia, Adeline (2007-08-23). "PA Swings to Pop". The Straits Times (Life!). p. 2. 

External links[edit]