The Singaporean government introduced a new parliament bill for first reading in the parliament on Monday that aims “to prevent, detect and disrupt foreign interference” in the domestic politics of the country.
In a press release, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Bill will empower Singapore’s government to order social media companies and internet service providers to disclose necessary information that would enable authorities to block suspected hostile content that “can cause immediate and significant harm in Singapore, such as inciting violence or causing hostility between groups.”
In the proposed bill, MHA will be the one designated to issue directives to restrict access to online contents deemed to be hostile information campaigns.
MHA believes that Singapore has been greatly vulnerable to harmful foreign influence that intends to mislead the public on political issues, as well as incite strife and dissent “by playing up controversial issues such as race and religion, or seek to undermine confidence and trust in public institutions.”
“We are strengthening our detection and response capabilities, as well as Singaporeans’ ability to discern legitimate and artificial online discourse,” the ministry said.
“To complement these efforts, our laws need to evolve, just as other countries have introduced new laws to tackle foreign interference.”