Situation of Electrical Industry in 1957

The Registrar of Registered Electrical Contractors of the Municipal Council 1957 shows that there were more than 600 electrical contractors engaged in government and other public and private construction projects at that time. The Electrical Department of Municipal Council did not have complete criteria on wiring and the safe usage of electrical appliances then for people of the industry to follow. That was why there were differences of opinion on electrical installation and safe usage between electrical inspectors of the Municipal Council and the contractors, resulting in frequent controversies. Leading members of the industry then thought that it was time for electrical contractors to organize themselves.

Founding Objectives and Founding Members

First, the organization could promote friendship and co-operation among members of the industry. Second, the organization could hold dialogue with the authorities after having obtained a consensus of opinion among the members, with the aim of eliminating friction and promoting co-operation, so that members could carry out their installation work more efficiently. The eight founders of the Association were Messrs. Tan Choon Suan, Kowk Siak Hong, Choo Kok Jee, Choo Kay Tock, Koong Chuong, Tan Chee Keow, Wong Man Seng and Woo Ah Cheng. Its application for registration was approved in 1958 and it was formally known as Singapore Electrical Contractors Association, members of which were all electrical contractors.

The Initial Association Location

After its formation, the Association began to carry out its activities and soon much progress was made. In such circumstance members felt that it was necessary to purchase premises of our own so that members would have a center for gathering and a permanent place for various kinds of activities. With the joint effort of all the members, the Association was able to raise an amount of more than S$20,000 within two years after its formation. And accordingly, the Association’s premise at 365D Serangoon Road was purchased in 1960.
The New SETA Building
The added activities of the Association rendered the existing premises inadequate and it was decided that he premises be sold and replaced by the three-storied, more spacious and cozy premises which the Association bought in 1970.

Change of name to SETA

Following the advance of the age, the popularization of electrification and Government’s implementation industrialization, the electrical industry made a rapid growth in the sixties. Moreover, PUB had formulated certain rulings on electrical materials; appliances and methods of installation to further ensure safety. Personnel engaging in the industry - electrical appliance suppliers, electrical technicians, manufacturers and contractors - are required to have better co-ordination and higher specialized knowledge. Accordingly the Association underwent a re-organization in 1968 by widening its limit of membership to include electrical product wholesalers and manufacturers. The Association then changed its English name to SINGAPORE ELECTRICAL TRADES ASSOCIATION while retaining its Chinese name, which in fact includes every aspect of the electrical industry. The change of its name in English enables it to keep up more closely with activities. In the same year the Association in response to the Patriotic Campaign urged members to donate to the Defense Fund and raised more than S$27,000. With this it had played its part in nation building.

Upgrading of members professional standards

In keeping with the need brought about by the progress of society, the Association also made much contribution in helping member’s upgrades their professional standard and modernization. At that time the Association has set up a Technical Advisory Sub-Committee comprised of two engineers from our members and three appointed consulting engineers from the profession. An Electrical Technician Training Class was held by the Sub-Committee at Pek Kio Community Centre to help train employees of members for obtaining N.T.C.3 Certificates with which they could register with PUB as electricians and technicians. In addition, it also helped those experienced workers in electrical installation who were low in education to gain registration as electricians.

Continued involvement with regulators & the community

The formation of the Sub-Committee was also intended to help recommend solution of technical problem to members in the course of work. Moreover, members of the Sub-Committee had been appointed on behalf of the Association to the various technical committees of PUB, SISIR, and VITB etc. This has served as a bridge between our Association and the various related Government institutions. On the one hand, the representatives submit the views of our Association to the various committees and on the other hand, they also convey to the Association the background and reason on certain rulings and regulations made by the related departments. In this way, they help promote mutual understanding and co-ordinate the implementation of the rulings. This important work undertaken by them has served as a basis for the good relationship between our Association and the many Government institutions.

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