Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on Factors Determining Whether Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents Can Hold Memberships in Foreign Entities

Published: 02 April 2024


Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether membership by Singaporean citizens and permanent residents in foreign entities such as the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Chinese Overseas Friendship Association are permissible so long as (i) they register with Singapore authorities and (ii) their activities are deemed as not directed toward a political end in Singapore.



Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:

1. There is no prohibition on membership by Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs) in such foreign entities, per se.

2. Under the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA), all SCs (but not PRs) are required to declare their membership in foreign legislatures or foreign political organisations to the Registry of Foreign and Political Disclosures. Failure to declare is an offence.

3. This requirement allows the Government to have oversight (for purposes stated in FICA) of SCs who are members of foreign legislatures or foreign political organisations. SCs who join such bodies or are thinking of joining such bodies will need to be discerning as to whether their participation could potentially go against Singapore’s interests.

4. For individuals who are Politically Significant Persons (PSPs) under FICA, we need to be even more mindful about their foreign affiliations, including memberships in foreign legislatures or foreign political organisations.

5. There is no prohibition against such membership per se. However, as Members will know, FICA allows the Registrar of Foreign and Political Disclosures to issue a directive to any PSP to end an arrangement with any foreign principal, including membership of any foreign entity. The Registrar can do so if he is satisfied that the PSP is undertaking, has undertaken or is likely to undertake an activity on behalf of a foreign principal, and that it is in the public interest that such a directive be given.