Allow overseas voters sufficient time to fulfil criteria

I thought my right to vote was enshrined in my citizenship. I have kept faith with Singapore by holding on to my Singapore passport, though I have worked and lived abroad for 24 years.

At the recent general election, I learnt that besides being a registered Singaporean voter of a certain age and without legal disqualification, I had to have resided in Singapore for an aggregate of at least 30 days during the three-year period between Feb 1, 2012, and Jan 31, 2015.

I learnt of this qualifying period only in an e-mail to me dated March 4 this year. It was not possible to make good the 30-day residency requirement as it was a retrospective announcement.

Was this qualifying period - of Feb 1, 2012, to Jan 31, 2015 - announced before its start, that is, before Feb 1, 2012?

How did the Elections Department decide on the cut-off date of Feb 1, 2015, and why a 30-day stay rather than, say, 14, 28 or 35?

Would the Elections Department be announcing the next qualifying period before its start so that overseas voters can ensure they reside for the requisite number of days?

Lee Siew Peng (Dr)

Britain