S'pore takes "strong stand" against foreigners importing domestic issues here: Iswaran

Singapore takes a "strong stand" against foreigners who import their domestic issues here, and categorically disallows any such campaigning, said Second Home Affairs Minister S. Iswaran on Tuesday.

He was responding to questions in Parliament by Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) and Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam on foreigners' political activity in Singapore.

During the recent Malaysian general election, the then-Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman had visited Singapore during the hustings, which raised questions on whether he was campaigning in Singapore. In May, a protest was also held in Merlion Park by Malaysians about the election results.

Mr Iswaran said foreigners, be they politicians, social visitors or workers, would not be allowed to conduct any political activities that would contravene Singapore's laws and disturb public order.

"Foreigners who reside, work in or visit Singapore should be mindful that their activities must conform with the laws in Singapore. They should avoid actions that can be misconstrued, as had happened recently during the recent Malaysian election," said Mr Iswaran.

Firm action would be taken against foreigners if they do not comply, he added. Regarding the Merlion Park protest, he said the police has taken action against 55 people and reviewing actions to take against another four. All are foreigners.

Mr Zaqy pointed out that the event lasted for up to two hours and asked why the police allowed the event to continue.

Mr Iswaran replied the police were on the ground within 15 minutes of receiving reports of the event, and allowed the event to continue to the end because it was the best course of action.

"They made a tactical assessment on ground, wanted to observe, identify the main participants, and take action against them subsequently, rather than make an intervention," he said.