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HSBA president steps down amid impending Politically Significant Person designation

Naturalized Singaporean Philip Chan resigns as Hong Kong Singapore Business Association president after Ministry of Home Affairs’ notice to designate him as a ‘politically significant person’ under the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA).



Singaporean businessman Philip Chan has resigned from his role as president of the Hong Kong Singapore Business Association (HSBA). This move follows a notice issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 2 February 2024, which expressed the intent to designate him as a “politically significant person” (PSP) under the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA).

Philip Chan, a 59-year-old naturalized Singapore citizen, stands to be the first individual categorized under this provision since FICA’s enforcement in December of the previous year. FICA’s mandate is to combat hostile information campaigns and the influence of foreign proxies in domestic politics.

This designation, applicable to a range of entities, including political office holders and Members of Parliament, is based on Mr Chan’s activities directed toward a political end. The Registrar of Foreign and Political Disclosures, who served the notice, has allowed Mr Chan a 14-day period from 2 February to make representations.

The MHA’s decision hinges on the assessment that Mr Chan is susceptible to foreign influence and has shown a willingness to advance foreign interests. The specific foreign entities involved have not been disclosed.

His activities in Singapore are considered politically motivated and, hence, are subject to FICA countermeasures.

If designated as a PSP, Mr Chan would need to disclose any political donations exceeding S$10,000 (US$7,500) annually and reveal his foreign affiliations and migration benefits. These transparency measures are designed to thwart foreign interference in Singapore’s political sphere.

In response to this development, HSBA’s chairman, Dennis Chiu, accepted Mr Chan’s resignation, effective from 2 February.

In a statement to The Straits Times, HSBA acknowledged Mr Chan’s valuable contributions and leadership, noting his prior intention to step down after his term’s natural conclusion in June 2024.

HSBA, established in 1994, serves as a pivotal networking platform for businesses in both Hong Kong and Singapore. Its stated primary aim is to facilitate effective connections and collaborations among companies with shared interests in these territories.

The association is said to be formed by a coalition of 17 foundational companies from Singapore and Hong Kong, in partnership with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, symbolizing a significant collaborative effort between the two regions’ business communities.

Mr Chan, who has been HSBA’s president since 2018, has remained silent, refraining from public comment or statements to the registrar.

Apart from his role in HSBA, Mr Chan has been actively involved in various other organizations.

Following the news of the pending designation, the People’s Association revealed on 2 February that Mr Chan has stepped down from all grassroots appointments, including as a patron of the Kampong Chai Chee Citizens’ Consultative Committee and the Bukit Timah Community Club management committee.

While the PA did not respond to queries regarding Mr Chan’s influence on grassroots activities during his appointments, it was noted that he had held these positions since 2014, as indicated on the SPD charity’s website.

His leadership roles extend to the Kowloon Club and his involvement in the charitable organization SPD.

As a prominent figure in business, Mr Chan holds managing director positions at several companies, including Wen Way Investments Pte Ltd, and has been instrumental in property investments across multiple countries.

His contributions to the business community and charitable causes, particularly among the Hong Kong immigrant community in Singapore, have been noteworthy.

In a March 2023 article on the Chinese news website 52hrtt (华人头条), Mr Chan was identified as an overseas representative at the National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

During an interview with the website, Mr Chan said, “It is our duty as overseas Chinese to tell China’s story well, and to both spread and pass on the marvelous traditional Chinese culture while we are abroad. As a member of the Chinese Singaporean community, I have had my articles published in Lianhe Zaobao, a mainstream Chinese media in Singapore. However, my influence is limited. Since we can only do little alone, we therefore need to be more united.”

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No more useful.
Gotta be careful!

Ever heard the term “Burn” in spy terminology?

Aiyoh, this is just a chinese plant that our monkeys tolerated because of “business relationship” with CHN. What has changed recently? Big losses by our sovereign funds in CHN???

By not doing due diligence prior to allowing them in, our Ministries are busy covering their shortcomings caused by themselves. Civil service incompetence?

Naturalized Singaporean?…LOLOLOLOL
CCP just say CCP but you dafties got to ask why did your country let so many in?😆😆😆😆

So sad

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