SINGAPORE: Workers’ Party (WP) politician Yee Jenn Jong has revealed that his family member has had, to date, difficulties opening certain accounts in local banks, all because he is classified as a Politically Exposed Person (PEP).
Referring to a joke Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean made during the parliamentary sitting that discussed the Ridout Road controversy yesterday (3 July), Mr Yee said on Facebook: “I have difficulties opening a bank account in my own country! Some years ago, I wanted a new bank account for my business. Surprisingly, one local bank turned me down.
“After pressing the officer hard in person at the branch, he sheepishly asked if I was a political person. Ok, I got it. I didn’t pursue after that because another local bank next door approved the account.”
Calling the PEP scheme “irritating,” the former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) added: “A family member also had some difficulties with opening certain accounts with our local banks, even till today.
“I am not sure what standards financial institutions use with the information that a person is politically exposed, but I find it is irritatingly kiasu, particularly to a PEP on the alternative camp.”
The term PEP in Singapore refers to an individual who holds a prominent public position or an individual closely associated with such a person. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) defines PEPs as individuals who are entrusted with prominent public functions or who have held such positions in the recent past.
Identifying PEPs aims to assess and mitigate the risks associated with potential money laundering, terrorism financing, or other illicit activities. PEPs are considered higher-risk customers due to their positions of influence and the potential for abuse of power or illicit financial activities.
Examples of PEPs in Singapore include government officials, Members of Parliament, senior executives of state-owned enterprises, high-ranking military personnel, judges, and senior executives of international organizations. Family members and close associates of PEPs are also subject to PEP classification.
MAS requires financial institutions and regulated entities in Singapore to have robust measures to identify, monitor, and manage the risks associated with PEPs. These measures include conducting enhanced due diligence, monitoring transactions, and implementing stricter internal controls and reporting obligations.