In a much-shared Facebook post, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the Prime Minister’s brother and the younger son of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew wrote that it is “way past time” for the country “to involve young people in democracy, political participation, and their own future.”
Mr Lee also noted in his Tuesday (Sept 6) post that there are only seven countries around the globe where the voting age is 21 or older, of which Singapore is one.
Only Oman, Samoa, Tonga, Kuwait, Lebanon, the UAE, and Singapore have a later voting age or 3 per cent of all countries.
“In 95 percent of countries, the voting age is 18 years or younger,” he added, also noting that citizens as young as 16 are allowed to vote in Wales and Scotland for parliamentary elections, while in Germany, citizens of that age are eligible to vote in some state elections and municipal elections.
But “in ASEAN, only Singapore maintains the age limit at 21. Singapore is an outlier,” he wrote.
But as for National Service, mandatory at 18 for Singaporean males, he noted, “We clearly consider them old and responsible enough to bear arms, kill an enemy, die for our country.”
Mr Lee then also listed other important activities Singaporeans are allowed to take part in at younger ages: voluntary enlistment (16), contractual capacity to transact business (16), driving (18), buying and consuming alcohol (18), having sex and “presumably have children (16).
“At the age of 10, Singaporeans are considered old enough to bear criminal responsibility. Young persons who commit a violent crime will be charged in court like other adults, and not in a juvenile court, even though they are under 21.”
To end his post, he asked, “Why deny our young men and women the right to vote? A right to have a say in their own future and the future of their country?”
Many netizens commenting on his post agreed with Mr Lee.
“At 18 they are conscripted to do NS, to hold a rifle n to defend the country. Surely, they are mature enough n should be accorded the right to vote!” wrote one.
“I am 100 per cent on this with you Lee Hsien Yang. It makes no sense not to lower the voting age to 18yrs,” opined another.
One wrote, “Well analysed and said. Fully agreed with you.”
Another netizen asked Mr Lee to “please run for President in 2023 so that we can vote…”
“Our young adults must have a hand in paving a future for themselves as well as for country,” said another.
One wrote, “It’s timely to re-look into this & make it happen(ed) in GE25.”
Leong Mun Wai says increase full-time NS salary to $2K, and lower voting age to 18
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