By Jerry Francis
The Royal Ipoh Club, that ‘doyenne’ of clubs, has come of age, diverting from its more than a century-old tradition as a men’s club.
Women can now be admitted as “ordinary members”, which had been previously reserved for gentlemen who have attained 18 years of age.
This is provided under a recent review of the club’s constitution and by-laws, where various amendments were made and approved by the Perak Registrar of Societies.
Since 1895, single women were accepted as “lady members” with no voting rights, and therefore have no say in the running of the club. They pay half of the entrance fee and half the monthly subscription of the ordinary members.
Now, it is possible for women to be elected into the club’s management committee.
However, it is not for at least another few years before a woman can become vice-president or president of the club. As a candidate for vice-president and president needs to serve not less than two terms as a committee member to be qualified.
Currently, there are about 50 lady members. How these lady members will be absorbed as ordinary members is not yet clear.
Under the amendment, there are now only two categories of membership, voting members and non-voting members.
The voting members are Ordinary Members and Life Members, while the non-voting members are Associate Members, Honorary Members, Visiting Members, Sports Members, Provisional Members and Term Members.
The ordinary membership is open to Malaysians and non-Malaysians who have attained 21 years of age. However, any candidate who has been accepted as a member will be placed as “Provisional Member” for six months before being further interviewed by the Management Committee for elevation to Ordinary Members.
Among other amendments is the provision for the formation of a Disciplinary Board to look into complaints. It will consist of a chairman and five members, who will be appointed at the Annual General Meeting.
Welcome to the 21st century, Royal Ipoh Club!