SINGAPORE: The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is set to be designated as a “politically significant person” (PSP) under Singapore’s foreign interference law due to its “close nexus and symbiotic relationship” with the People’s Action Party (PAP), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Thursday (Jul 11).

As a designated PSP, the labour movement will be required to make annual disclosures on political donations of S$10,000 (US$7,400) or more, as well as its foreign affiliations.

“These transparency requirements will mitigate NTUC’s risk of being a target of foreign interference,” MHA said in a media release, adding that NTUC was served a notice on Thursday of the intention to designate it a PSP. 

NTUC has 14 days from the date of the notice to submit representations to the Registrar of Foreign and Political Disclosures, who is appointed by the Home Affairs Minister. 

If its PSP status is confirmed, NTUC would be the third organisation to be designated as such, following human rights groups Maruah and Think Centre.

While NTUC is unlikely to make any representations, it said it will have to review MHA’s requirements for the designation process.

NTUC said in response to CNA’s queries that it does not accept donations from political entities.

“The National Trades Union Congress is aligned with national safeguards to prevent foreign interference, and we will continue to ensure that our operations remain free from foreign influence,” a spokesperson said.

NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said separately that the labour movement is committed to championing workers’ interests with accountability and transparency. 

“(We) would like to assure our members, partners and stakeholders that NTUC’s core work to better workers’ lives and livelihoods will continue unabated,” he added.

The foreign interference law, known as the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act or FICA, is aimed at strengthening the government’s ability to prevent, detect and disrupt foreign interference in domestic politics. The Bill was passed in parliament in October 2021 after a lengthy debate.

Among those defined as PSPs are political parties, political office holders, Members of Parliament, election candidates and their agents.

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