Published: 11 January 2022
Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what steps can a person take to ensure that his donation to charities based overseas are not used for terrorism financing activities especially if such checks are not readily available to, or can be reasonably taken by, the individual.
Mr Sharael Taha: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether there are any other migrant workers who are suspected to be radicalised or financing terrorism; and (b) how can the public be educated to ensure that their donations are used for genuine charitable purposes and not used to finance terrorism, given that individuals transfer donations through online platforms.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:
1. To address Mr Sharael Tara’s question, 10 migrant workers have been charged under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act to date. Police treats every terrorism financing case seriously. Any support for terrorism-related activities or entities, no matter the source or amount, threatens our national security.
2. Members of the public seeking to support charitable causes should exercise caution against donating to unverified charities or responding to unverified fund-raising appeals, both online and offline. It can be difficult to ascertain whether these charities, particularly those based overseas, are bona fide organisations. In addition, there is no certainty that the donations will be used for the publicised purpose.
3. Therefore, we urge donors to channel their donations through registered charities which are regulated by the Commissioner of Charities. If donors are keen to support foreign charitable causes, they may respond to appeals organised by these registered charities or entities that have obtained a fund-raising for foreign charitable purposes (FRFCP) permit from the Commissioner of Charities.
4. As more fund-raising appeals move online, it is important for donors to be discerning with crowdfunding appeals. To create a safer giving eco-system, the Commissioner of Charities had worked with key crowdfunding platforms in Singapore to develop an industry Code of Practice for Online Charitable Fund-raising Appeals. The Code sets out recommended best practices for crowdfunding platforms to be trusted intermediaries between donors and beneficiaries. I urge members of the public to be discerning when responding to online fund-raising appeals, and use crowdfunding platforms that have pledged commitment to the Code of Practice.
5. In addition, donors are strongly encouraged to exercise their own due diligence to ensure that their donations are used for genuine charitable purposes. Pose questions about what the donations will be used for, who the beneficiary of the fund-raising is, and how they can receive updates about the beneficiary. Check if the charities are bona fide. Donors can access the Charity Portal (www.charities.gov.sg) for more information on Safer-Giving and trusted crowdfunding platforms.