In governance, majority doesn't always win

In the wake of the general election, much has been said about the apparent disconnect between online chatter, which was widely deemed to be anti-PAP, and the eventual polling outcome, which turned out to be strongly in favour of the People's Action Party.

Many have concluded that online opinions and sentiment may not necessarily represent the "silent majority" ("Netizens may not represent the majority" by Mr Lee Heng Fatt; Monday).

Those who speak one way or the other online may not necessarily behave in the same way when it comes to the ballot box.

Online comments are a good sounding board for policy gaps, loopholes and grouses. But it would be naive to take them as an indicator of how people might eventually vote.

This persistent talk about the will of the silent majority worries me.

The concept of "majority wins" works when it comes to elections. But it does not work when it comes to governance. The purpose of a government is to look after all of its people to the best of its ability.

The concept of "majority wins" works when it comes to elections. But it does not work when it comes to governance.

The purpose of a government is to look after all of its people to the best of its ability. But one would argue that it should do more to protect the minorities from the vagaries of the majority.

To use a more extreme example, should the Government respond if the majority decides that the Central Provident Fund or national service should be abolished?

I voted for a party that I trusted to be able to lead and govern with wisdom and character to do the right thing, and not to simply pander to the will of the majority, silent or vocal.

Tim Mou Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2015, with the headline 'In governance, majority doesn't always win'. Print Edition | Subscribe