Published: 29 September 2021
1. The Workers’ Party appears not to be objecting to the principles and various aspects of the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Bill. In fact, they have confirmed they believe in the legitimate need to counter malign acts of foreign interference.
2. They have proposed certain amendments to the “form” of the Bill. These may be summarised under five main points:
a. Add more persons to the categories of “politically significant persons”;
E.g. a member of the central executive committee of any registered political party in Singapore, or a senior public servant holding specified offices;
b. Publication of designated persons/entities on a publicly accessible platform, unless the competent authority considers it not practicable or desirable to do so on national security grounds; The Ministry of Home Affairs has already previously said that it will publish these details.
c. Increasing the threshold of proof required before an offence is committed; or certain directions can be made;
d. Appeals to the Reviewing Tribunal and to the Minister to be replaced with appeals to the High Court; and
e. Amending the definition of what amounts to “directed towards a political end in Singapore”, and related clarifications to exempt activities.
3. These specific proposals will be discussed in Parliament next week, when the Bill is debated.