Reserved elections balance meritocracy, inclusivity

I do not believe that we are trading in meritocracy for tokenism in reserving a presidential election for a particular ethnic group ("Necessary tokenism to boost long-term multiracialism" and "Big step backwards for Malay community"; both published on Nov 15).

A pressing concern today is the need to construct an inclusive society.

A purely meritocratic society which selects individuals for positions based on merit alone stands as a direct contradiction to ensuring inclusiveness.

The reservation of a presidential election for a particular ethnic group is to balance meritocracy and inclusivity.

It empowers that ethnic group in terms of political representation, and gives them a stake in this community.

It does not compromise our values of selecting the "best man" for the job - in fact, the criteria for candidates have been tightened.

Delia Leow Hui Ting (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Reserved elections balance meritocracy, inclusivity'. Print Edition | Subscribe