Singaporeans below the age of 21 cannot vote on our nation’s leaders.
Singapore is the only nation in ASEAN, and one of very few countries in the world such as Lebanon and Fiji, to continue this draconian practice.
The ear-straining justification given by the government is that Singaporeans below 21 years old are not mature enough to make decisions, and may not be sensible enough to understand the complexity of policies and national issues.
Parroting this drivel again in Sep 2019, Minister for Trade and Industry and former Chief of Army, Chan Chun Sing said:
“Voting in elections involves making serious choices, which requires experience and maturity.”
The government appears to be very confused as to the maturity and sensibility of young Singaporeans.
In Mar 2021, the government stated that full-time National Servicemen serving in the Home Team (police force and civil defence) do not need parental consent before receiving Covid-19 vaccine shots.
Because, they “possess sufficient maturity and understanding to also appreciate the benefits and risks involved in their own medical treatment…” according to the Home Affairs Ministry and Health Ministry.
The enlistment age in Singapore is 18 – the age when Singaporeans are deemed mature enough to defend Singapore.
And even die for Singapore, as seen in the multitude of reports of National Service casualties.
At 18 years old, more Singaporean women are entering the workforce or pursuing higher education.
Surely, they too would have the maturity and sensibility to decide on their leaders?
The SDA advocates for the voting age to be lowered to include all Singaporeans who turn 18 years old.
Offering young Singaporeans the right to vote will encourage them to behave even more responsibly, and spur more critical thought towards national issues.
Giving them a say in nation-building will instil a much greater sense of pride in Singapore, strengthen solidarity with their peers, and drive them at a younger age to start creating a better Singapore for themselves and their children.
It is time to stop ignoring the voices of these mature and sensible young Singaporeans.
And it is time to prove to them that the system is sincere about having them participate in our democracy.
SDA Chairman’s Office