Wednesday 23 May 2012

Case president to step down after decade

He cites 'healthy renewal'; new head to be elected at June AGM
By Jessica Lim, The Straits Times, 22 May 2012

THE president of the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, 51, will step down from his post next month after a decade championing consumer rights.

His successor, to emerge from the consumer watchdog's central committee (CC) to be elected at next month's annual general meeting (AGM), is widely tipped to be Mr Lim Biow Chuan, 49, Case's vice-president since 2006.

Both men, who are Members of Parliament, have accepted nominations to sit on the next CC.

Mr Yeo, who remarked that he believes in 'healthy renewal', said he will leave Case after having put in place the necessary mechanisms to address consumer challenges.

A significant milestone he marked on his watch from 2002 was the bringing to fruition of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act in 2004. By then, Case had lobbied for it for nine years.

With this Act in force, consumers can take civil action against retailers of unfair practices if no restitution is made.

This Act paved the way for more consumer protection to be worked in: In 2009, it was amended to cover financial products and services; this year, it was extended to include a 'lemon law' which will require retailers to either repair or replace defective products.

Case has also implemented accreditation schemes and pushed for product safety regulations for 15,000 imported consumer products, on top of handling tens of thousands of consumers' complaints every year.

'With these key legislative measures in place, I've made the shoes more comfortable for whoever will be wearing them next,' said Mr Yeo.

Looking back on his tenure, the Ang Mo Kio GRC MP said: 'When I first took over in 2002, I saw in front of me all these impossible tasks. At least I've made some progress.'

At Case's AGM on June 23, the 100 members expected to show up will cast votes to elect the 13 CC members.

It is the CC which elects the office-bearers.

But Case executive director Seah Seng Choon, noting that many nominations have been received, said: 'We're not expecting much to change.'

Mr Lim seemed to be the popular choice for the top post, he said, 'but it will depend on voters'.

When contacted, Mr Lim said: 'There's a lot more that can be done for the interests of consumers here. But we just have to wait for the outcome of the election.'

Saying he respected Mr Yeo's decision to step down, he added: 'I think he's done very well in pushing for consumers' rights over the last 10 years, but I respect his decision to bring in fresh new perspectives.'

No comments:

Post a Comment