The Chamber has its humble beginnings through the efforts of a few dedicated Indian businessmen who set out in 1924 to organise the Indian mercantile community in Singapore and set up the Indian Merchant Association (IMA). Though Indian merchants had been active in trade and commerce in this part of the world from time immemorial, the historic developments that followed the arrival of Stamford Raffles in Singapore in 1819 gave a fillip to their activities.
Eleven years later, on 26 August 1935, when Mr R Jumabhoy was President of the IMA, the Association’s name was officially changed to the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC). It then became an entity that was exempted from registration under Ordinance 116 (Societies) of Malaya. On 27 September 1937, a ‘Certificate of Incorporation’ under the Companies Ordinance was issued to the ICC.
The ICC changed its name to the Indian Chamber of Commerce (SICC) in 1971 to reflect the changing nature of its compositions and focus. A further change in name took place in 1991 when the SICC was renamed the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
The Chamber’s Premises
The IMA, at the time of its conversion to the ICC, was located in a small rented room in an old building in Malacca Street, where the Republic Plaza now stands.
In 1937, with its incorporation, the Chamber relocated to another rented but far more spacious premise at 4 Raffles Quay. However, in 1953, when the site was acquired to establish the present Ascott The Residence (former Asia Insurance Building), the Chamber had to move out to yet another rented place at No 94B Robinson Road.
In 1963, the Chamber moved into its very own premises, a three-storey building at 55 Robinson Road. These premises were acquired after the Chamber sold the property that it had bought at 41 Market Street as early as 1949, but could not occupy as its tenant refused to move out. This property, unfortunately, was ultimately acquired by the Singapore government for urban redevelopment.
In 1984, the Chamber acquired a modern office space in Tong Eng Building in Cecil Street. The office space was well equipped with a trade Documentation centre, conference and seminar facilities and library.
In 2007, the Chamber acquired its current premises, a three-and-a-half storey conservation property, at 31 Stanley Street. This acquisition more than doubled the working space for the SICCI Secretariat, and after extensive renovations, provided state-of the-art facilities. This shift has also enabled the SICCI to set up its Enterprise Development Centre which was later renamed SME Centre@SICCI since 1 April 2013, an entity which has helped to integrate the Chamber’s activities and foster enterprise development, especially amongst its small-medium enterprise members.