Singapore—The country’s founding Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, once suggested that adults between the ages of 35 and 60 and who had children should get an additional vote.
The reason is that those with more responsibility should get more weight during elections.
Also they need to vote for themselves and for their children (who) have an interest that needs to be protected.″
The founding prime minister believed that certain people were more entitled to votes than others.
Interestingly, the report from the AP said the change in voter weight might be needful “15 to 20 years” from the time it was published because of an ageing problem that could pressure the government for additional subsidies and financial assistance.
That 15 to 20 years would start around now, although it’s uncertain how Singaporeans would feel about this at this point in the country’s history.
In 1994, at the time of the article’s publication, the population aged 60 and over was 10 percent with projections it will be 25 percent by 2010.
And back then, eight adults with employments would contribute to the support for one senior citizen, while in 2030, the projection is 2.2 people working to support one senior.
Mr Lee said then by the time the next generation grew up, the elders could go back to having just one vote.
″Once past 60, their children would have grown up and would vote for themselves.
Then the parents should drop back to one vote. But during those critical years, 35-60, people who carry twice as much responsibility should have two votes. This will make for a more viable system and a more stable society.″
Mr Lee also talked about how important it is to make adjustments when needed, even in the constitution.
″If you want a one-man, one-vote or representative government to succeed, from time to time, you will have to adjust your system to make it more viable and less volatile.″
At the time of publication, Mr Lee was a senior minister under Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, but still enjoyed considerable influence, according to the AP report.
While his radical suggestion was discussed, some saw it as a grab to keep the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) in power.
The article quotes PAP MP as saying ″The danger of the system is that theoretically, any government can stay in power in perpetuity as long as it can take care of the interests of a group it gives the two votes to.” /TISG