At the public launch (August 3) of Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s Progress Singapore Party (PSP), both he and Central Executive Committee (CEC) member Michelle Lee spoke about lowering the voting age to 18.
Earlier today (August 6), former People’s Action Party (PAP) Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng wrote, “let’s stop with this “if they can defend the country at 18, why can’t they vote” nonsense”, suggesting that the voting age be increased.
During his speech, Secretary –General and founder of PSP Dr Tan said, “At 18, they are old enough to drive, the girls enter university and the boys enter into National Service. Since they have a duty to defend our country, these 18 year olds should also have the right to elect their leaders”, adding that 18 is the voting age of most countries around the world, in all of the other ASEAN countries.
Similarly, Michelle Lee received an astounding response from attendees of the party launch when she too spoke about lowering the voting age.
Today however, in his rebuttal, Calvin Cheng cited three reasons as to why lowering the voting age is “foolish”.
Firstly, he said, “An 18 year old full-time national serviceman is being trained as a soldier. He is not ready to defend the country until he is …. operationally ready. When his NS training is over, by which time most are 20 to 22 year olds.
NSFs are not even allowed live ammunition unless in highly supervised environments”.
Cheng also cited studies that show that the human brain is not fully developed until age 25.
Lastly, he said that “skin in the game” is important, in the form of life experiences.
“An adult who has struggled through holding to a job, raising a family, and has had years of social interaction with human beings will think very differently from an 18 year old”, he added.
Cheng cited the late Mr Lee Kuan yew, who said in 1994 that adults between 35 to 60 should be given two votes. Mr Lee suggested giving two votes to citizens aged 35 to 60, married with children.
In concluding his post, Cheng wrote, “For these reasons, I think that not only is lowering the voting age to 18 foolish, the right thing to do would be to raise the voting age to 25”.