Acra rejects bid to register firm with foreign ties

An application by historian Thum Ping Tjin and freelance journalist Kirsten Han to register a company has been rejected, with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority citing its registration as being "contrary to Singapore's national interes
An application by historian Thum Ping Tjin and freelance journalist Kirsten Han to register a company has been rejected, with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority citing its registration as being "contrary to Singapore's national interests". PHOTOS: GOV.SG

An application to register a company by historian Thum Ping Tjin and freelance journalist Kirsten Han has been rejected due to its links to foreign funding.

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) yesterday said the purposes of the proposed company, OSEA Pte Ltd, are "clearly political in nature".

OSEA was to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of British-registered OSEA UK. Acra said OSEA UK had received a grant of US$75,000 (S$98,000) from a Swiss charitable body, Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI). FOSI, in turn, is closely associated with Open Society Foundations (OSF), which was founded and led by American billionaire investor George Soros, and set up to pursue a political agenda all over the world.

Acra said OSF, FOSI and other foreign groups can fund whatever causes they like elsewhere. "In Singapore, however, our position is that none of them can be allowed to fund Singaporean organisations or individuals participating in our domestic politics."

The registration of OSEA Pte Ltd would be "contrary to Singapore's national interests", it said. "We should not allow foreigners to interfere in how we should govern our country. Nor should we allow any group of Singaporeans to lend themselves to being used by foreigners to pursue a political activity in Singapore."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'Acra rejects bid to register firm with foreign ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe