Everything About the Foreign Interference Law, Whereby a Person Has Been Designated as a PSP


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You might have heard of the Foreign Interference Law (FICA). It was first passed as a law in 2021 and came into full force as of 29 December 2023.

This legislation was applied for the first time to a Singaporean businessman, Philip Chan Man Ping, marking him as a designated PSP, a case we’ll delve into later. In case you were unaware, PSP stands for politically significant person.

If you’re finding yourself puzzled about the nuances of this law, you’re in the right place for a comprehensive explanation.

What is the Foreign Interference Law?

FICA was introduced to enable the authorities to act against individuals or foreign entities partaking or facilitating foreign interference that could disrupt domestic (i.e. Singapore) affairs.

This law was created to safeguard the country’s national interests against covert operations by foreign actors aimed at manipulating public opinion, disrupting societal harmony, and influencing local politics.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notes that since we live in a highly digitalised and modern society, Singapore is more vulnerable to threats of foreign interference.

FICA ensures that Singapore’s domestic politics and governance remain purely under just Singaporean influence, devoid of external manipulation.

This law falls under two categories: Hostile Information Campaigns and Politically Significant Persons.

Category 1: Hostile Information Campaign

The provisions related to Hostile Information Campaign (HIC) came into full effect on 7 July 2022.

HICs are conducted through online tools and coordinated strategies to divide Singapore’s society, influence local politics and compromise its political sovereignty.

It’s essential to note that ordinary citizens expressing their views or foreigners commenting on Singapore’s politics, even critically, do not fall under this law. So you don’t have to worry if you make commentary videos on YouTube or TikTok.

Some examples of HICs include creating and using inauthentic accounts to mislead users about their identity and credibility, creating accounts or pages on popular topics like fashion and lifestyle then posting political messages after gaining a substantial number of followers and using bots or advertisements on social media platforms to increase the reach of their manipulated messages.

When such content is identified, the MHA can issue directives to social media platforms, internet service providers, and website owners to mitigate these threats.

Some directions include “Stop Communication (End-User) Direction” which requires the person responsible to stop the communication of the HIC content to viewers in Singapore and “Account Restriction Directions” where if a certain social media account if found to be used for HICs, the provider of the services will have to block content from such accounts.

Of course, there are multiple other directions as well, but I won’t be getting into it else we’ll be here all day.

Category 2: Local Proxies aka Politically Significant Persons

The provisions related to Political Significant Persons came into effect on 29 December 2023. This category is further divided into Defined PSPs and Designated PSPs.


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Defined PSPs are essentially individuals or organisations directly involved in Singapore’s political processes.

This includes political parties, Political Offices Holders (POH), Members of Parliament (MPs), including non-constituency MPs and Nominated MPs, Central Executive Committee (CEC) members of political parties and election candidates.

In other words, politicians are automatically PSPs.

They have to comply with more stringent countermeasures under FICA.

This includes reporting ever single donation of S$10,000 or more, being prohibited from receiving donations from foreign donors, keeping a separate bank account to receive political donations to ensure transparency of records and disclose if they have been given benefits such as honorary citizenship or permanent residency by foreign governments.


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Designated PSPs, on the other hand, is a person or organisation whose activities are directed towards a political end and is accessed in the public interest that countermeasures must be taken.

Unlike defined PSPs, designated PSPs will only need to disclose political donations and foreign affiliations. However, more stringent countermeasures (like what the defined PSPs face) can be put into place if a high risk of foreign interference is found.

What happens if the person or organisation does not agree with their designation as a PSP?

They can place an appeal to MHA, who will then consult an advisory committee for appeals regarding designations and directives.

So where does the businessman, Philip Chan, fall into place in this context?

First Person to be Regarded as Designated PSP

Philip Chan Man Ping is a Hong-Kong born businessman, now naturalised Singaporean, is the first person to be designated as a PSP under FICA in Singapore.

Chan is the managing director of several real estate investment firms. He is also the president of Hong Kong Singapore Business Association, which facilitates networking of business committees between Singapore and Hong Kong.


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Additionally, Straits Times reports that he is the founder of China Link Education Consultancy which provides courses to young people interested in conducting business in China. The courses covers topic such as Chinese politics, economic development and customs.

He even attended China’s political event in March 2023 as an “overseas Chinese representative.” He emphasised the importance to “tell China’s story well” and wishes to form an alliance between overseas Chinese communities in different countries during an interview with the Chinese media in the same month.

His roles and involvement in these various activities have landed him in the spotlight.

MHA noted in a statement on 2 February 2024 that his 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 Chan.”

MHA even highlighted that Chan have shown susceptibility to being influenced by foreign actors, and willingness to advance their interests.


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As a designated PSP, Chan would have to comply with the countermeasures stated above. When speaking to the Straits Times, he mentioned that he received the notice on 2 February and will respond next week.