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Singapore’s anti-foreign interference law to be fully enforced on 29 December

The Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA) will commence full implementation from 29 December, said the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs.

The act which claims to be meant for countering “foreign interference” utilizing local residents, mandate ‘politically significant persons’ to disclose affiliations with foreign principals and report donations from foreign entities.

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SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA) will become fully operational starting 29 December to address foreign interference utilizing residents as agents.

According to MHA’s statement issued on Tuesday (12 Dec), the new provisions within the law will impose strict regulations on “politically significant persons” acting as resident proxies.

FICA was passed in Parliament in October 2021. The government said FICA aims to bolster the government’s capacity to prevent, detect, and disrupt foreign interference in domestic politics, focusing on hostile information campaigns (HICs) and the use of local proxies.

The provisions to counteract foreign interference via HICs came into force on 7 July 2022.

Politically significant persons under FICA encompass individuals directly engaged in Singapore’s political processes, including political parties, political office-holders, Members of Parliament (MPs), central executive committee members of political parties, election candidates, and their election agents.

These individuals are prohibited from accepting voluntary labor or professional services from non-Singaporean citizens.

Additionally, they are required to disclose any affiliations with a “foreign principal,” which includes foreign governments, government-related individuals, foreign political organizations, foreign public enterprises, or foreign businesses.

Furthermore, they are barred from receiving anonymous donations exceeding S$5,000 within a calendar year and must report donations of S$10,000 or more from permissible donors.

MHA highlighted that Think Centre and MARUAH are currently recognized as political associations under the Political Donations Act (PDA).

Effective 29 Dec, under section 127(1) of FICA, they will be categorized as PSPs (politically significant persons) and subjected to heightened scrutiny regarding political donations.

Concurrently, the PDA will be repealed, with existing obligations transitioning to FICA.

Power to obstruct websites and social media accounts involved in “hostile campaigns”

MHA emphasized that these changes were enacted in response to endeavours by foreign agents to clandestinely impact Singapore’s internal political landscape.

These changes followed the initial implementation of provisions targeting hostile information campaigns in July of the prior year.

The newly granted powers empower authorities to obstruct websites and social media accounts involved in hostile campaigns, regulate the circulation of mobile applications within Singapore, and curtail the funding of such content.

Under FICA, the Minister for Home Affairs is authorized to appoint a “competent authority” tasked with designating individuals and organizations as politically significant persons, subject to specific conditions.

For instance, individuals could be labelled as politically significant persons if their actions are deemed by the authority to be geared toward a political objective, and if it is deemed in the public interest to implement countermeasures against foreign interference.

Those designated as politically significant persons through this mechanism are obliged to disclose political donations and foreign affiliations unless the authority perceives a heightened risk of foreign interference.

The legislation further mandates that Singapore citizens—regardless of being designated as politically significant persons—must inform the competent authority if they are affiliated with foreign political or legislative bodies.

Individuals involved in such entities before February 1, 2024, are required to declare their association by March 1, 2024.

Subsequently, Singapore citizens joining these organizations after February 1 will have to declare their involvement within one month of joining, as stated by MHA.

This measure is intended to shield against the possibility of foreign nations attempting to groom citizens to influence Singapore’s internal politics, MHA added.

Transparency directive

The authority is granted the ability to issue a “transparency directive” to any licensed newspaper or media outlet, compelling them to reveal specific details regarding foreign authors and their principals responsible for publishing articles or programs.

“The Transparency Directive addresses, for instance, situations where foreign writers masquerade as local writers penning articles relating to Singaporean political matters and seek to influence public opinion,” MHA said.

On 5 October 2021, FICA was passed in Parliament with 75 votes in favour, 11 against, and two Nominated MPs abstaining from voting.

Notably, all 10 MPs from the opposition Workers’ Party and Progress Singapore Party’s Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai voted against it. WP MPs advocated for amendments to the FICA Bill that would have addressed these concerns.

FICA faced criticism from various quarters, including academics, legal scholars, civil society activists, and numerous citizens.

The criticisms centred on several aspects, including the hurried passage of the Bill without formal consultation, the broad powers granted to the Minister based on suspicions, the “ouster” clause limiting judicial appeal against Ministerial decisions, the lack of transparency regarding the Minister’s actions under FICA, and the absence of countermeasures against foreign interference targeting Ministers and the Prime Minister.

This timing for the full implementation of FICA appears apt, especially with mounting anticipation surrounding a highly likely early General Election in 2024 following PM Lee Hsien Loong‘s intention to pass on leadership responsibilities to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong before the upcoming GE and PAP’s 70th anniversary next year.

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Calvin Cheng had obliquely referenced previously about Muslim terrorists children riding in school buses in SG, wasn’t it.
Reflect, he wasn’t taken to task that I can recall about it.

FicA aka cherry picking law, I beg if the foreigners make good comments, they will not go after them. It is only when foreigners help locals or make comments they don’t like, that’s went they kick and whine like pigs with poofma and now this.

I Am Earning $81,100 so Far this year working 0nline and I am a full time college student and just working for 3 to 4 hours a day I’ve made such Qq great m0ney.I am Genuinely thankful to and my administrator, It’s’ really user friendly and I’m just so happY that I found out about this…
.
.
I Worked Here ==> > W­w­w.S­m­a­r­t­c­a­r­e­e­r­1.c­o­m

Singapore PAP government Ministers can interfere US internal affairs and China internal affairs but US government and China government cannot interfere Singapore internal affairs and criticise Singapore PAP government.

The PAP Administration is Classic Ultra Hypocrites, very Big Time.
Is this law has Foreigners in mind or foreigners behind locals?

For one, why the PAP Administration was SO BLOODY TIMID and WEAK when selected NOT TO DIVULGE who were behind the Cyber Attacks, Information/Data Hacks directed at SG previously?
And were THERE MANY MANY MORE THIS COWARD Regime choose TO KEEP SECRET?

Hahaha everyone Understand The Only Bully Locals Millionaire Rogues.

How to be part of the global community when foreigners are not allowed to comment or write about politics in Singapore? Better close down our airports, it is a gateway for foreign influence. How about Singaporeans studying or living abroad? One party majority govt. becomes sick in the head and spreads the illness to the community to control them. This must be from CCS or the Yishun Minister. Both suffer from inferiority complex .

How about HC’s foreign friend?

They are targeting political dissidents.

Foreigners no need interfere. They just occupy our jobs, and we eat fish if chicken is expensive. tsk tsk tsk

Any law that states pappies cannot interfere in other countries politics or comments ?

Yes let us blame “Foreign interference” while allowing the majority of the workforce to be foreigners.

The ruling party’s logic is as impressive as always and all for the wrong reasons.

So can they arrest all chow jiu hu kia writers, that write arties here bashing PAP establishment and pose as Staff Writer?
No. But they sure can ban the site again and they need to go ‘under ground ‘ again if the law is applied to this and many oppo site after 29 Dec 23.
POFMA not strong enough so now make another law to ‘silence’ you Siao Lang here!😆😆😆😆😆

1000 percent this BS law will be used to sue singaporeans working overseas or for “foreign” magazines and news agents. while FTs and real spooks get ignored.

NAS do NOT aim to destroy the PAP Administration – the crux is 40 per cent aims to based in political manual.

I Protest. Why the Govt can recruit Foreign Talent to interfere in Citizens Life!

Before you say Others, Please look at the Policies and System you created!

Another fence to secure their tofu reputation, to preserve hegemonic power over lame Sheeps, when BETTER and MORE URGENT ISSUES to do

-like RAISING productivity,
-EFFECTIVE measures to goad Sheeps to have Sex,
-ENHANCE Corruption Investigations Methods, – – -Better COIs to screen Own Political Wrong Doings

are TRADED OFF, FROZEN, for more steps to CONTROL society, to make themselves RICHER and RICHER Millionaires.

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