2000 AGM: EGM Signatories raised to 1% of the Membership
As expected, the ACCA has lurched further to the right. Its controllers
are keener than ever to stifle debate and silence dissent. In a move
welcomed by ACCA President John Brockwell, the number of signatories needed
for the EGM has been raised from 100 to 1% of the membership. On the last
published data, that would mean that an EGM needs to be requisitioned by
720 members. The leadership thinks that the raising of the number of signatories
will make it impossible for members to call it to account.
However, there are numerous inconsistencies.
At the AGM, Prem Sikka drew the President’s attention to these inequalities,
but he received no response from the leadership. The leadership's main
interest is to give the impression that ACCA is democratic, but at the
same time make it impossible for anyone to call them to account.
ACCA EGM/AGM requires a quorum of only 20. So why is the number of signatories
incompatible with this.
Only 10 countries have more than 500 ACCA members. So in most cases, the
entire membership in a country could request an EGM but it will not be
For Malaysia, 15% of the membership will have to sign the requisition.
The figures for Hong Kong are 6% and for the Caribbean, 36%.
For the UK, only 1.8% of the membership will need to sign a call for an
With £35 million operating budget, a huge mail shot, flying
visits to other countries and bribery (e.g. free dinners in Malaysia and
Hong Kong), the ACCA machine could only persuade 7% of the membership to
vote in the 2000 council elections. Yet it expects, ordinary members to
collect signatures from 1% of the membership.
The idea of 1% of the membership also introduces uncertainty. One per cent
of membership at which date? At the date the EGM requisition is submitted,
the date when the campaign started, the date when the formal request is
received by ACCA, at the date when the last membership directory is published,
or any other date?
The membership register might include members who have died or have not
paid their fees in time. The whole idea can not be operationalised.
The new ACCA policy is contrary to the principles applied in the UK national,
regional, local, Mayoral, European and other elections where the number
(rather than percentage) of signatories for an EGM are specified.
The bottom line is that the leadership wanted to disenfranchise the
members. It gave no consideration to the geographical composition of the
membership. Not has it created any new channels to enable members to express
their concerns. The effect of the change is to further disenfranchise the
members, especially from outside the UK. Two years ago, Malaysians were
prevented from tabling a ‘critical’ motion at the AGM.
The signal from the leadership is clear. It does not care about the
feelings of members from outside the UK. It just wants their money and