Voices Of Youth

No need to fear a second House

A democratically elected Upper House of Parliament will not necessarily lead to deadlock or hyper-partisanship in Singapore ("Impractical to have 2 Houses of Parliament" by Mr Don Ho Jia Hao; last Wednesday).

It is entirely conceivable that an Upper House will be able to complement the proceedings of a Lower House, debating Bills passed by the Lower House in order to provide alternative perspectives which may not have previously arisen.

Furthermore, an Upper House can also serve as an alternative body for the proposal of laws, especially considering that Private Members' Bills in the Lower House are exceedingly rare.

In such a context, it is evident that a second House of Parliament - which has the ability to introduce legislation - will result in a larger plurality of voices within Singapore's political sphere.

An Upper House could strengthen the nation's political system by bringing about greater representation of various segments of society.

Currently, the Westminster "first past the post" system ensures that a party can obtain outsized parliamentary representation by simply winning a majority in each parliamentary seat.

An Upper House of Parliament could potentially be filled through a system of proportional representation, ensuring, for example, that 30 per cent of non-People's Action Party voters are represented in Parliament.

While the specific structure of an Upper House in Singapore will have to be publicly debated, to simply assume that the creation of an Upper House will lead to greater deadlock in the Singapore polity is flawed.

I do not worry that greater democracy will be unsuitable for Singapore.

Matthew Soo Yee, 18, awaiting A-level results

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2015, with the headline 'VoicesOfYouth'. Print Edition | Subscribe