No plans to lower voting age to 18: Chan Chun Sing

No plans to lower voting age to 18: Chan Chun Sing

Singapore General Election 2015 voters queuing at a polling station
Presiding officers check the voter details particular at a polling station in Singapore on Sep 11, 2015. (Photo: AFP / ROSLAN RAHMAN)

SINGAPORE: The Government does not plan to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said in Parliament on Monday (Aug 5).

Mr Chan was replying on behalf of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to a question submitted by Member of Parliament Lim Wee Kiak. 

Dr Lim had asked the Prime Minister if he would review the voting age; what the considerations were for retaining the current voting age; and how many more voters would be eligible should it be lowered.

READ: Creating jobs, lower voting age among issues Progress Singapore Party aims to champion at next General Election

READ: Malaysia's parliament approves Bill to lower voting age to 18

The Progress Singapore Party on Saturday proposed lowering the voting age, highlighting the need for youths to be involved in the political decision-making process. 

Last month, Malaysia’s parliament approved a Bill that lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

"We have adopted a graduated approach in setting the various legal ages at which a person can undertake different responsibilities in Singapore," Mr Chan said in his written reply. 

"A person’s rights and responsibilities gradually increase as one matures, until the common law age of majority of 21, when a person comes of age to make decisions as an adult and engages in activities that involve significant personal responsibility." 

He added: “Voting in elections involves making serious choices, which requires experience and maturity. Voters elect the President who exercises the custodial and veto powers under the Constitution.

“Voters also choose their Member of Parliament, and in so doing, decide on the group of individuals who will eventually form the Government.”

He said that about 130,000 youths would be eligible to vote if the voting age was lowered today.

"The Government currently does not plan to lower the voting age," said Mr Chan. 

"Nevertheless, we recognise that many youths want a voice in national matters and wish to make a difference."

He also added that there were platforms and channels, such as the SG Youth Action Plan, where youths can express their views and contribute to nation-building.

Source: CNA/ga(rw)

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