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What the FICA is he thinking?

It’s official – Singapore now has a law designed to combat the threat of Foreign Interference in Domestic Affairs. The Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Bill or “FICA” was passed by the ruling party’s super majority in parliament after a 10-hour debate.

The result in parliament was never in any doubt. Whatever points were made, were simply swatted aside and Singapore’s Magically Unconflicted Law Writer and Enforcer, Mr. K Shanmugam had a field day presenting himself as a defender of our liberty from the perils of foreign influence in our domestic affairs. I guess you could say that Mr. Shanmugam had every reason to celebrate in as much as he’s managed to grab more power in his hands.

One of the most interesting points in this entire saga was why was it necessary to introduce a bill to protect us from foreign influences now. Around a month ago, our newly anointed protector against foreign influences was playing the role of champion of staying open to foreigners. Mr. Shanmugam was the man who challenged Nominated Member of Parliament, Mr. Leong Mun Wai to a debate on CECA (our free trade agreement with India, which has been the source of unhappiness among many Singaporeans) and it was he who framed the debate on CECA as “Race Baiting” as was explained by the following report from Channel NewsAsia: [LINK]

Perhaps I’m a little slow (since I earn way bellow S$500,000 a year) but it seems that Mr. Shanmugam is flip flopping. Up to a month ago, Mr. Shanmugam was a champion of free trade and open borders. Although he’s never held a “trade portfolio,” Mr. Shanmugam has taken it upon himself to talk about a “borderless” Asia and Singapore’s role in it. He’s touted Singapore’s legal infrastructure as a “selling” point for anyone wanting to set up shop in the region as can be seen in this 2015 speech that he gave: [LINK]

A month ago, Mr. Shanmugam was arguing that being open to foreigners was essential not just for our prosperity but our very survival.

Suddenly, the man who was arguing that we needed to be open to foreigners is now telling us that foreign interference is one of the most serious threats that we face: [LINK]

What makes our law enforcer believe that “foreign interference” is one of the most serious threats that we face at a time when the only thing people are focused on is the spread of a deadly virus that looks set to fill up every available hospital bed?

Mr. Shanmugam will undoubtedly argue that being open to foreigners and foreign interference and influences are undoubtedly two separate issues. While it may seem that way on the surface, this argument would illustrate a failure in the understanding of human interactions. It assumes that Singaporeans are merely passive recipients of influences from elsewhere just as the Mr. Shanmugam and his colleagues might argue that this is how it should be – the foreigners come here, park their capital here never get involved in “local life.”

Unfortunately, that’s not how human nature works. Foreigner who come here will be mix with the local population through that most beloved of bureaucratic institutions – the office. Our locals are likely to be influenced by the foreigners they interact with just as the foreigners are likely to be influenced by the locals they interact with. One of the best examples I can think of is the French restaurant owner I used to work for who spoke fluent Singlish, swore in perfect Hokkien and discussed the joys of durian with a French accent.

Then, you also work on a policy of trying to get a portion of those foreigners to stay here long enough to take up permanent residence or even citizenship. That by definition is a form of foreign interference as the “new citizens” by definition are going to bring their thoughts and influences developed from elsewhere into our political system.

Being “pro” being open to people from elsewhere and claim that you are also against influences from outside coming into the political system.

Then, we need to look back at what Mr. Shanmugam has done as Minister of Law, which was to sell Singapore’s legal infrastructure to people from elsewhere as a reason for them to park their money in Singapore.

So, here’s the question – were there any laws in designed with the foreigner in mind rather than the local in mind? Did our magically unconflicted writer and enforcer of laws create laws so that foreigners would find favour in Singapore. This is not suggesting that there was any wrong doing on the part of the Minister but its also hard to argue that there was “no” foreign interference.

Incidentally, one should note that in his arguments as to why we need FICA, he used Kirstin Han and her work at New Naraif, as an example as to why we needed protection against foreign interference. Ms. Han is born and bred in Singapore. She holds a Singapore passport and whilst she may have had met former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mahathir, she has NEVER once suggested that Singapore should be taken over by another nation or that any of our political leaders should have harm done to them. Yet, somehow, she received the dubious honour of being labelled by our least conflicted minister as an agent of foreign interference.

By comparison, Mr. Shanmugam does not think that his Fawning Follower aka “The Critical Spectator,” a known Polish blogger, who argues that dormitory conditions of our foreign workers are good for Singapore – this is despite the fact that it was established that the dormitories were direct cause an explosion of Covid-19 cases. Isn’t this an act of bio-terrorism to promote a disease-causing institution as beneficial to the population and isn’t it a worry that the man who is in charge of writing and enforcing laws sees a Singaporean promoting greater democracy and accountability than a foreigner who is a cheerleader for bioterrorism as a greater threat?

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

11 Responses to “What the FICA is he thinking?”

  • opposition dude:

    That’s PAP for you, something they want they will tell long grandmother stories about why its needed and justified. Same for when transport fares need to be increased or GST jacked up to 9%.

    But when they don’t want minimum wage they will also robustly refuse to talk about it and simply declare their progressive wage model to be better with nothing to show for it.

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  • 4G CMI, SG dies:

    Actually good mah. For a change, LHL no longer can be considered the most powerful man in sg liao.

    Thanks to FICA, Shan is now more powerful than LHL, no? Maybe there’s a chance sg could have a non-Chinese PM after all.

    Long live, Shan! 万岁万岁万万岁!

    Tech: I honestly wouldn’t mind Mr Shanmugan being the next PM, at least he has the balls to make hard decisions and do what’s rights. What do you think?

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  • Harsh Truths That Stumble SGP:

    4G CMI, SG dies:
    Actually good mah. For a change, LHL no longer can be considered the most powerful man in sg liao.

    Thanks to FICA, Shan is now more powerful than LHL, no? Maybe there’s a chance sg could have a non-Chinese PM after all.

    Long live, Shan! 万岁万岁万万岁!

    Tech: I honestly wouldn’t mind Mr Shanmugan being the next PM, at least he has the balls to make hard decisions and do what’s rights. What do you think?

    I was wondering what “K” stood for. Now I know. It stands for “King”. Long Live King Shan”

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  • Harsh Truths That Stumble SGP:

    If the King was to be serious about the sincerity of his latest ”
    law”, then I hope he can quickly arrest The Critical Spectator and Nas Daily. These two foreigners have been interfering with Singapore’s internal affairs.

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  • John Richards:

    All hail King Shanmugam! Champion of the elites.

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  • 4G CMI, SG dies:

    @TRE Tech

    I honestly do not like this Shan bully at all BUT anyone who can topple the useless LEEder, me think deserves my clap.

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  • oxygen:

    “FOREIGN INTERFERENCE” as a threat to domestic security – to me – is hysterical exaggeration of slim truth. And yes, it happens every day and in invisible forms, so how do you -by legislation or any other contraption of fake instrument restrain this?

    Take this simple illumination of the real thing. The sudden & spectacular collapse of the former regime in Afghanistan is not the end episode of historical turmoil in regional/global politics and conflicts. It is only the beginning of darker and more dangerous times ahead.

    The swiftness and easy victories of the rag-tag Taliban forces weighing against the high tech-equipped and far more superior numbers of US-trained Afghan army gives instant reminder of Vietnam and Iraq’s instant collapse of US hegemony and US-dictated rules of order vested in the hands of INCUMBENT DICTATORSHIP that simply vaporize and disintegrates AT THE FIRST SIGN OF INTERNAL CHALLENGE (not external threat FICA pretends of its effective defence). Factionalism, tribalism, terrorism and resources nationalism even in non-violent jurisdiction must emerge and seen to be emerging now from Africa and South America.

    The world has changed.

    UN has to talk to terrorist as Kofi Annan once said.

    https://www.kofiannanfoundation.org/in-the-news/kofi-annan-to-bring-peace-you-have-to-deal-with-terrorists/

    Resources nationalism is in the boil in Peru.

    https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/peruvian-community-blocks-key-highway-protest-against-glencore-mine-2021-10-06/

    BHP is talking to corrupt dictatorships in Africa that it previously won’t even look at.

    https://www.mining.com/web/bhp-discussing-congo-copper-deal-in-shift-of-strategy/

    Meanwhile, China is desperately trying to hold down spiraling commodities prices by selling its stockpile.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-16/china-orders-state-firms-to-curb-overseas-commodities-exposure

    All these have long term supply shocks has profound impact on global economy and by definition Singapore’s survival.

    In a world of global political turbulence – “FOREIGN INTERFERENCE” every day emanating from Afghanistan to Peru to China’s (insatiable hunger for all materials) have FAR BIGGER AND INSIDIOUS IMPACT on Singapore’s survival than the hysterics of a few noisy (often unnoticed) disputed irritations from the social media – whether these are locally funded or not) – which INCUMBENT POLITICS AND ITS STRANGE FICA legislation attempts to pin down.

    My point is that realities and perception of realities is often miles apart. Who has the monopoly of wisdom, information, and luck to be on the correct winning judgement call of “truths” or “realities” except the self-acclaimed ghosts of fiction maybe?

    FICA, POFMA etc are mistakes and misguided hysterics in my view of legislative law. If we can’t challenge false assumptions, the country will rot within to extinction.

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  • oxygen:

    THE IRONY OF FICA is that it elevated the sound bites of dissident’s viewpoints whilst it convinces or adds little of those entrenched inside its own tribal camp.

    You are NOT going to achieve anything positive by legislation of what is incapable of achievement of reality outcome.

    Can you legislation the truthfulness/falsity of fallen native PMET employment by m*st*bating employment statistics alongside POFMA law when thousands of PMETs are forced to seek survival security in the GIG economy?

    Can you also legislate “public morality” by leaving s377A in the statute book and not prosecuting the same law in the courtroom of pretend law and order and so called “justice” enforcement?

    IT IS MIND-BOGGLING to me of some of the legislative pretensions.

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  • Homeless Cat:

    They create the law after the fact…? Well. Is it me or is the feeling they got badly played just me?

    Oh, plenty of room for creative interpretations, these laws.

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  • KPI lah:

    Create a KPI for FICA not sure it is useful or not. Now rolled out FICA, KPI achieved, can claim bonus liao.

    After CECA, another xxCA. No creativity neh.

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  • Harder Truths:

    This joker is doing this to take the blame off Cancerman. That guy says nothing that does not keep him pure and wholesome. (Puke).

    This guy will be thrown away once his political due date is reached. Until then he will continue to be the village idiot. Cancerman will never give power to any race other than Chinese, and even then from his own clique.

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