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Foreign interference

Foreign interference happens all the time, but does it have to lurk behind social media?

For example, if Uncle Sam thinks that Mr Heng can’t hold the fort as PM, and may give in to democratic demands of Singaporeans to the detriment of American interests, does he have to covertly undermine Mr Heng by mounting a social media campaign? Don’t be a bloody fool, he just picks up the phone and tells LHL so.

If XJP is pissed that Singapore is collaborating with Western forces to undermine China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea, is he going to carry out a covert social media campaign to influence Singaporeans, and risk being exposed? Oh please! He just invites LHL for a state visit and and tells him his displeasure politely but firmly, and for good measure, confiscate a few Terrexes.

In terms of economic and military might, we are actually a small fry compared to many countries, and the government is not immune to being pushed around. Most foreign governments won’t need to subtly influence Singaporeans via social media to push their agenda, they can talk directly to PM Lee, it is much more effective. I am not being sarcastic, but why waste time, resources and go underground when it can be done directly?

Some may say that foreign elements may want to destabilize our country by fanning racism and xenophobia on social media. But, whatever for? How does it benefit them? Is it effective and worth the effort? Are they that difficult to expose?

Who then is the proposed foreign interference law targeted at?

CNA says it is targeted at hostile information campaigns that seek to mislead Singaporeans on political issues, stir up dissent and disharmony by playing up controversial issues such as race and religion, or seek to undermine confidence and trust in public institutions.

The people who write strongly on social media against controversial political issues like vaccines, CECA, foreign talent policy, incompetence and hypocrisy of the government on social media are Singaporeans, not foreigners, for the simple reason that it affects them directly. Foreigners couldn’t be bothered.

Compared to the toothless POFMA, the proposed law can bite – the state has the power to restrict circulation, take down the offending articles, fine or even jail the perpetrators.

Although, it ostensibly is called a law against foreign interference, the authorities can also target individuals or entities “if their activities are directed towards a political end”, which is very broad.

If we want to talk about covert operations, then this law is it, because you can’t tell the people directly to shut up as it is their right, so you have to go about it in a roundabout way. On the surface, it is targeted at foreigners, but in reality, its own citizens.

 

Foong Swee Fong

 

 

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

19 Responses to “Foreign interference”

  • the sweet taste of power:

    //the state has the power to restrict circulation, take down the offending articles, fine or even jail the perpetrators.//

    the reason when given the opportunity of democracy, one must keep on preserving and maintaining the state of democracy (have good enough oppo members for balance) ??? orelse hor, people having tasted the sweet taste of power may change all the rules to perpetuate its own power ???

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  • 境外势力煽动颠覆国家政权:

    If we want to talk about covert operations, then this law is it, because you can’t tell the people directly to shut up as it is their right, so you have to go about it in a roundabout way. On the surface, it is targeted at foreigners, but in reality, its own citizens.

    Well said and good analysis. Our media (MSM) are constantly under foreign influence and do not report the whole truth on issues sensitive to foreign forces.

    This “煽动颠覆国家政权法” is clearly foreign influence.

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  • No originals:

    Ceca is foreign interference!

    India flooded Sinkies land with their countrymen.

    Soon the country is without the originals!

    Don’t you think they all should serve national service.

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  • ganeshsk:

    Thats is why it is important to remover the PAP in 2025 to remover Tess offensive and stupid laws.
    During LKY’s time CIA contacted LKY directly to cut bargains.

    Granted no social media that time but the direct connection is not cut yet.

    So why would foreigners bother about small fry Singapore.

    The PAP is so afraid it is losing it is power and come up wit ridiculous laws

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  • xoxo:

    Foreign interference?
    Guess those FTs dumped by the pAp are the REAL foreign interference here.
    They interfere with our once prosperous lives by robbing our jobs with fake degrees n kickbacks.

    They brought Delta here.
    Our lives turned upside down.

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  • anything wrong or criminal:

    //the authorities can also target individuals or entities “if their activities are directed towards a political end”//

    why cannot leh ?? anything wrong or criminal (except if the new law makes it so ??) if activities by citizens are directed towards a political end ???? OR only white idiots and gang can indulge in activities for its own political end ???

    trying to wayang (dealing with disagreeable elements ??) by masking (packaging) it under the clout of a law as being against foreign influence ???

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  • Heaven has eyes:

    The final nail in the coffin has been hammered in…
    TOC being forced to close..unless…
    Citizens will have one less favourite online platform for discussion..
    All of a sudden we’re being bombarded with warnings of foreign interference , xenophobia etc….in the midst of a badly handled covid19 crisis.
    Who were the ones who caused these issues to materialise..
    Something to deviate our attention from their inept governance?

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  • DeBarge:

    If the government knows a foreign influence is behind a social media outlet and interfering in Singapore affairs, it is a simple matter to expose them. You have to determine that a foreign party is behind that source before acting, right ? Or do you ? What is troubling is that they will act without telling us who that foreign entity might be. They could easily shutdown a local claiming foreign backers and then claim they can’t tell us who the foreigners might be.

    After the massive and humiliating cyber attack on the government some years back, all we heard was a foreign government was involved, but the government refused to name them. Why protect foreigners ?

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  • Tan See Leng talking cock:

    Straits Times:Bigger rise in local PMET employment and wage growth despite foreign PMETs: Tan See Leng talking

    Th See Kenny is lying AGAIN with statistics. He did this before when questioned on some weeks back on CECA. He misled by giving half-truths. He did not give complete details. I

    PAP misleads Singaporeans to cover-up the devastating results of its pro-alien policies. The results are so obvious. PAP insults Singaporeans by Its blatant lies using partial, “cherry-pick” data.a

    PAP cannot be trusted. It is that simple. The only solution is REGIME CHANGE.

    Throw out the pro-alien PAP at the next GE. Bury it with LKY so it can also be “GDP” – GOOD DEAD PERMANENTLY.

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  • Reboot:

    Half population are foreigners, even ministers are foreigners.

    Half sovereign funds are managed by foreigners.

    NAS Daily and Critical spectators are also foreigners.

    So what foreign influence are they talking about?

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    You can’t teach idiotic Pigs to fly, they they can’t and you will only ANNOY them

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  • opposition dude:

    Don’t pay too much attention to whatever nonsense PAP wants to implement lah, at the end of the day this foreign interference thing will only be used against small foreign ikan bilis nia. I have yet to see PAP having success in shutting down another government’s foreign interference to be honest so this new law isn’t aimed at any foreign government.

    And to be frank, the PAP can afford to spend so much time on this sort of nonsense and pofma as well but can’t even be bothered to solve bread and butter issues but instead wayang and say this sector pay will go up over 5 years and some silly discrimination nonsense written into law. But we still see so many Grab drivers and makan deliverers hmm.

    So just let PAP blow their trumpets loud loud when they announce some success at dealing with some foreign website interfering with their grand plans lah, it’s not as if the majority will care 2 hoots anyway.

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  • Absurdity:

    Reboot, you hit the nail. Get Nas Daily and co to shut up or sue them.
    But the incumbent wouldn’t do that because he goes around licking their backsides, isn’t it ?

    Reboot:
    Half population are foreigners, even ministers are foreigners.

    Half sovereign funds are managed by foreigners.

    NAS Daily and Critical spectators are also foreigners.

    So what foreign influence are they talking about?

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  • No wonder:

    Once they step foot here, they are “locals”.
    PAP can invite foreigners to come in and interfere, I mean, support.
    Don’t forget the foreigner soldiers permanently here.

    Reboot:
    Half population are foreigners, even ministers are foreigners.

    Half sovereign funds are managed by foreigners.

    NAS Daily and Critical spectators are also foreigners.

    So what foreign influence are they talking about?

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  • Harder Truths:

    The Dead Despot did not care one way or the other what the law said or did not say. he punished everyone who he had a quarrel with, even the ex-ministers from the Old Guard. This was public knowledge, but no one wanted to spend 30 years in prison as a martyr that no one cared a sh*t about.

    It is the same today. We can argue all we want. But when push comes to shove, the hordes of followers will melt away and hide,leaving the few in the firing line to take the blame. People know the truth in $G – you can stand up but be prepared to die alone.

    It is no surprise that this will go round and round in the courts or debates or HL Park. It means nothing. At the end of the day the FT keep coming, $G locals become Grab drivers or unemployed and life goes on. Making a big wayang is just for show. Nothing will change.

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  • oxygen:

    CATERPILLAR MENTALITY and failure prevail. Anyone still surprise why Yale is leaving an isolated intellectual infertile stupidity corner?

    CATERPILLARS DON’T THINK on their own, they just follow the “lead” (not leadership) caterpillar up the branches and depleted foliage, usually ended up in collapsed hunger exhaustion and eaten by flying past birds (foreign influx).

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  • The Great Deception:

    Opposition has to look for loopholes in the system to utilise it to get funding, be it local or foreign to upset pappy as they put up such policies like declaration of financial sources from political websites to govt agencies which look legitimate, “targeted at foreigners but in reality its own citizens”.

    There is policy like FTAs to recruit more naturalised citizens in the name of free trade for SG economy to win GEs!

    As long as pappy controls this twin factors viz, MONEY & ECONOMY it is hard for the Opposition to knock them out!

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  • Ab Ab:

    China does have an audacious propoganda plan.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/dec/07/china-plan-for-global-media-dominance-propaganda-xi-jinping

    In today’s world, social media influence has become the most powerful weapon. Hence, I urge Singaporeans to be careful and think critically about what they read on social media sites.
    Motivated campaigns by some groups of people to rile up different Singaporeans have been going on. They are using social media, and using extreme language, almost hoping there would be race riots. Who are they? What is their motives? Are they Singaporeans or foreigners masquerading as Singaporeans? Is it part of CCP, Xi Ping plan to expand PRC power over whole of South China Sea and the critically important Malacca Straits?
    Having control of a territory near Malacca Straits would be very useful, and even better if they can have a military base here. Singapore is in a particularly vulnerable position as CCP considers it to be an extended part of China due to its 75 % ethnic Chinese population. With 400k PRC nationals working in Singapore, and another 600k already granted citizenship, there are many CCP sympathizers or even spies here (one even got caught).
    While there are many who are genuinely misled (because data is not shared with them, just narratives), and some are just inherently racist, I believe there are many who are trolls on CCP payroll. I wonder if false narratives to create racial divide and in effect destabilize Singapore part of this game plan?

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  • oxygen:

    PROPOSED LAW AGAINST “FOREIGN INTERFERENCE”, introduced in Parliament, can order take down of “hostile” information in the social media.

    The dictionary definition of “hostile” is approximately these imports..showing or feeling opposition or dislike; unfriendly”

    Every piece of “hostile” publishing can be tossed into the same bin as “foreign interference” – never mind if it is FALSE, TRUE or CONTROVERSIAL OF CONTENTS or positioning of posture or interpretation.

    For example the argument that a policy decision is lazy of having been “adequately thought through” in analysis is “HOSTILE” of unquantifiable “adequacy” just like CECA debate is NOT about race or xenophobia but about national economic flawed economic policy architecture and structural engineering construct in a foreign media.

    Do PAPpypolitics then demand, by force of this statutory law enactment, the takedown of this publishing if quoted or commented upon by a blogger in the social media in LEE-jiapore? So suddenly any debate on CECA or any other FTAs is blacklisted as “prohibited unspoken” of liable to takedown demand in the social media…akin to the ant irritating the an*s of political cows sensitivities?

    Public discourse on national issue of importance need down shrink down & bow in total submisssion to threatening demand from political sensitivity akin to that of peasants MUST NOT BE A FLEA attempting to rape the political elephant?

    It is like a 5-yr old todler crying and throwing tantrum not given his/her lolly in a supermarket of goodies galore.

    We are going back to the Age of shelter protection of the cave whilst the world outside is spinning at an accelerating rate of change and progress?

    As an example, criticism of CECA and FTAs are not new “stirring” of peasants or unelected representative in Parly. The Economics Strategies Committee recommendation of 2011 HAVE LONG WARNED OF ITS FLAWED PREMISES AND ITS UNSUSTAINABILITY before the Population White Paper (given the meme of “toilet paper”) was rammed down the throats of opposition post the Punggol by-election results.

    Now the ghosts of walking dead in the economic graveyard (post-pandemic) reincarnates in Parliament by PSP and the social media and met with unsavory languages inside the holy house of “no talk” of “hostile content” that could be raised in social media/foreign news publishing as example of “hostile content” (and by extension of same colourisation) “foreign interference” in its tail?

    So social media discourse is a BLANK PIECE OF PAPER which only the political cows paint whatever it likes as the holy inviolable Biblical “truths” even if all is misinforming lies confronted by “truthful” revelations in the social media?

    We are walking backward, FASTER AND FASTER blindfold of truths telling – IT IS GOING TO FALL INTO ECONOMIC DEATH but politically hungry soon.

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