The Business of Religion: How Religious Institutions in Singapore Conduct Their Businesses

Topics: Religion, Major religious groups, Islam Pages: 27 (9064 words) Published: February 25, 2013
Business, Government and Society
Group Project
Instructor: Elizabeth Su

Prepared by:
Donovan Han Zihao
Ivana Wongso
Joshua Lau Zhi Ming
Shawn Tan Wei Zhi
Thanachot Techanithisawat
Wong Zeng Jie
Instructor: Elizabeth Su

Prepared by:
Donovan Han Zihao
Ivana Wongso
Joshua Lau Zhi Ming
Shawn Tan Wei Zhi
Thanachot Techanithisawat
Wong Zeng Jie

Table of Contents

Executive Summary 3
Research Methodology6
The Exclusion of Muslim and Hindu Societies7
The City Harvest Church (CHC)7
Scandal of Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum9
Societal Perspective10
Regulation in Singapore11
The Charities Act12
Taxation, Charities, and Corporate Governance 17
Perspective from the church18
Changes to Taxation System20
External Auditors for Financial Inspection22
Prevent Religious Extravagance23
Fund Raising Procedures24
Voluntary Code of Governance24
Public Audit25
Separation of Business and Religious Entities25
Appendices & References28

Executive Summary
In the light of recent scandals involving religious organisations, there are doubts on how they operate as a charity. Profit making through investments, poor internal governance which resulted in a siphoning of donors money and lack of accountability were some reasons for the intensified public scrutiny. We explored how these entities affect their different stakeholders, most notably, its donors and the government of Singapore. This report seeks to present the facts to purport these issues faced by our businesses, society and government, and identify the need for appropriate governmental regulations for the prevention of such occurrences. We examined the accountability of the major religious institutions in Singapore, mainly Buddhist and Christian ones, because they received large amounts of money from the public and there is a lack of accountability to the public. Through our analysis, we identify possible deficiencies and evaluate the need for changes in the current regulatory measures. This report also seeks to provide recommendations on governmental regulations to further regulate these religious entities.

“Religious organisations in Singapore need appropriate government regulation and oversight to prevent the occurrence of fraud and financial misconduct.” This report explores the controversies of religious charities and examines the need for appropriate government regulations to prevent the occurrence of fraud and financial misconduct. This report studies and analyses the effects of these controversies on the business, government and our society and suggests several feasible recommendations on the regulatory measures. Introduction

Singapore is a multiracial country with people professing different beliefs. It is not unusual to see the buildings of different religious groups in close proximity within the same locality or even the same street. This harmonious coexistence and tolerance is a microcosm of the religious diversity and harmony in Singapore. Over the years, the religious ratio in Singapore has remained largely constant with little change in the general religious affiliation of the population ("Religion," 2011). With more than 90% of the population having a religion, it is evident that religious organisations play a key role in meeting the spiritual needs of their followers ("Religion," 2011). For the scope of our project, we identify the relevant stakeholders to be the government, religion and most importantly the donors. The recent religious scandals regarding their finances show the importance of the regulatory body, the government. They also result in the increased public doubt in religious charities. We seek to explore the ways they affect donors and how donors are affected by the occurrences of financial misconduct among the religious organizations.

Religious organisations run their course of...

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