The appointment of former foreign minister George Yeo to Hong Kong's new Economic Development Commission is not a conflict of interest, said Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.
In fact, Mr Yeo's position is expected to contribute to strengthening Singapore's relations with Hong Kong and China and is in the country's strategic interests, he said in Parliament on Wednesday.
"We see no conflicts nor violations of the Official Secrets Act with Mr Yeo's appointment. We expect that Mr Yeo's appointment to the commission will contribute to the strengthening of Singapore's relations with Hong Kong, and through Hong Kong with China," he said, in a reply to Non-constituency MP Lina Chiam, who had asked whether the appointment would violate the Official Secrets Act or jeopardise Singapore's strategic interests.
It is not uncommon for governments to appoint foreigners as advisers to tap on their professional expertise and experience, added Mr Masagos. And Singapore has also appointed prominent foreigners to its national advisory boards related to finance and economic development.
Mr Yeo, who served in a variety of ministries including finance, trade and industry and foreign affairs, was appointed to Hong Kong's new Economic Development Commission this year to help strengthen the Special Administrative Region's economic growth and development.
He is now based in Hong Kong as the chairman of Kerry Logistics Network.
"Throughout his career, Mr Yeo he has been well known in this house and to all Singaporeans, as a man of highest personal integrity, and patriotism who has consistently served Singapore's national interest," said Mr Masagos.