SINGAPORE: Naturalised Singapore citizen Philip Chan Man Ping has announced plans to contest the foreign interference allegation against him, after the authorities informed him on Friday (2 Feb) that he would be designated as a Politically Significant Person (PSP) under the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA).
The 59-year-old businessman is the first individual to be served with such a notice under FICA, which passed in 2021 despite a number of opposition figures voicing concerns and seeking clarity in its implementation.
The businessman has been given 14 days to submit representations to the Registrar of Foreign and Political Disclosures and may appeal to the Ministry of Home Affairs if he is designated a PSP.
In response to the intended designation against him, Mr Chan told CNA that he would be handing in representations next week. He also expressed trust in the government of Singapore.
The businessman has also appeared to remain serene on social media, posting calm nature scenes, inspirational quotes and Bible verses on his Instagram account over the past 24 hours.
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The Registrar, which is responsible for the administration of the provisions relating to PSPs, had “assessed that Chan has shown susceptibility to be influenced by foreign actors, and willingness to advance their interests.”
It added that it deems that the businessman’s 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 him.
Mr Chan is required as a PSP to make a disclosure to the Registrar every year concerning political donations of $10,000 or more that he receives and accepts, his foreign affiliations, and migration benefits.
The businessman was born in Hong Kong and moved to Singapore more than 30 years ago. He is the managing director of Wen Way Investments and Mutual Benefits Realty and chief executive at C&H Properties.
In March 2023, he was among 30 overseas Chinese representatives who attended China’s Two Sessions parliamentary meetings, having been invited by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
The businessman also heads the Kowloon Club, an organization assisting new immigrants with integrating into Singapore society. As such, he also wrote around 30 pieces for Lianhe Zaobao between 2011 and 2019.
Some Singaporeans online, meanwhile, commenting on the news about Mr Chan, have commended MHA for having taken action as well as for “thorough investigations” on the businessman.
Others, however, likened Mr Chan’s situation to that of TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi. The Singaporean was grilled this week by a US Senator who repeatedly questioned him regarding his ties to China. /TISG