Singaporean businessman served notice under foreign interference law


SINGAPORE: Singaporean businessman Chan Man Ping Philip has been served a notice that the authorities will designate him as a “politically significant person” under a law to counter foreign interference.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Friday (Feb 2) that the Registrar of Foreign and Political Disclosures intends to impose the designation on Mr Chan, a 59-year-old naturalised Singapore citizen, under Section 48(1) of the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act, known as FICA.

The law seeks to prevent, detect and disrupt the use of hostile information campaigns and local proxies by foreign entities intending to interfere in domestic politics.

Mr Chan is believed to be the first person to be served notice under FICA provisions which came into force in December last year.

“Politically significant persons” – also referred to as PSPs – can include political parties, political office holders, Members of Parliament, election candidates and their election agents. Mr Chan’s case falls under a provision to designate individuals as a PSP if their activities are directed towards a political end, and it is in the public interest for the authorities to apply countermeasures under FICA.

The registrar served the notice to him on Friday, informing him of its intent, and he has 14 days to submit representations.

MHA said that the registrar assessed that Mr Chan “has shown susceptibility to be influenced by foreign actors, and willingness to advance their interests”. The foreign actors involved were not identified.

The registrar also found that Mr Chan’s activities are “directed towards a political end in Singapore”, and that it is in the public interest for countermeasures under FICA to be applied to him.

As a designated politically significant person, Chan would be required to disclose to the Registrar annually political donations of S$10,000 (US$7,500) or more that he receives and accepts. He also has to disclose his foreign affiliations and migration benefits.

“These transparency requirements would help to detect and prevent any foreign interference directed towards a political end in Singapore,” said MHA.

If he is designated a PSP, Mr Chan may appeal to the Minister for Home Affairs against the decision.



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