No plans to lower current voting age from 21 to 18

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that there are no plans to lower the voting age to 18.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that there are no plans to lower the voting age to 18.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singaporeans will continue to get to vote only when they turn 21 years old, as there are no plans to lower the voting age to 18.

Setting out the Government's approach, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said yesterday that a Singaporean's "rights and responsibilities gradually increase as one matures, until the common law age of majority of 21".

This is when a person comes of age to make decisions as an adult and engages in activities that involve significant personal responsibility, he added. "Voting in elections involves making serious choices, which requires experience and maturity."

Mr Chan, on behalf of the Prime Minister, was responding to Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC), who asked if the Government would review the voting age.

If the minimum age were lowered, Mr Chan said some 130,000 young people would be eligible.

He added that his colleagues "recognise that many youths want a voice in national matters and wish to make a difference". Given this, the Government will continue to maintain platforms like SG Youth Action Plan for youth to contribute ideas.

Last month, Malaysia passed a Bill to lower the voting age to 18.

Separately, Mr Png Eng Huat (Hougang) asked yesterday if the practice of announcing voters' names and registration numbers on Polling Day would be phased out with the e-registration system.

 

He suggested that this practice could be replaced with voters and polling agents verifying the information discreetly on a screen.

Citing the Parliamentary Elections Act, Mr Chan said the voter's name and registration number must be called out by election officials, immediately before the ballot paper is issued to the voter.

"This allows the polling agents present to check against their own copies of registers and verify that the voter is eligible to vote at the polling station," he said.

"This is separate from the e-registration process and ensures that only voters who are assigned to vote at the specific polling station are issued with ballot papers." He added that there are no plans to change this after e-registration is rolled out.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2019, with the headline 'No plans to lower current voting age from 21 to 18'. Print Edition | Subscribe