Singapore’s main opposition party seeks to change foreign interference law

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People take photos as helicopters fly over with a Singapore flag during the 54th National Day Parade in Singapore on August 9, 2019. REUTERS / Feline Lim

SINGAPORE, Sept.30 (Reuters) – Singapore’s main opposition, the Workers’ Party, has called for changes to a foreign interference bill, citing the need for greater transparency, after Experts and advocacy groups have also voiced concerns about the broad scope of the law. provisions.

The government this month proposed legislation to combat foreign interference with powers that include binding entities such as the internet, social media service providers and those who run websites to disclose information about them. users, block content and remove applications. Read more

“While the Workers’ Party believes in the legitimate need to counter malicious acts of foreign interference, we do not agree with the current form of the bill to achieve this goal,” the party said in a statement. Wednesday evening.

Singapore, a small open city-state, says it is vulnerable to foreign interference. But some experts and rights groups have expressed concerns about the general provisions and limitations of the proposed judicial review law.

The Workers’ Party said the proposed amendments would lead to oversight of executive action by the judiciary and a more precise definition of executive powers to significantly reduce the likelihood of abuse of power.

The proposed changes will provide: “Greater clarity and transparency on the identity of the entities and individuals against whom, and the reasons for, any direction, order or decision under this bill is made.”

The Home Office said the law would not apply to Singaporeans expressing political views, unless they were agents of a foreign entity.

It would also not apply to foreign individuals or foreign publications “reporting or commenting on Singapore politics in an open, transparent and accountable manner”, even if they criticize Singapore or its government.

The ministry said on Wednesday that the Workers’ Party proposals would be discussed in parliament next week.

The legislation is likely to be adopted due to the parliamentary majority of the ruling People’s Action Party.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore Editing by Ed Davies

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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