Do you have the luxury to vote?

By | April 24, 2006

I do hope some of you realise the irony behind my “luxury to vote” phrase. Voting is the basic right of every citizen in a democratic country. Whether one chooses to cast his/her vote or not is another matter, but no one should be deprived of this fundamental right.

When voting degenerates into a “luxury”, it gives rise to a number of questions such as whether the right of the people has been compromised, or if their voices are effectively heard by the government, to name a few.

The fact that a ruling party which received on average 60-70% of the votes cast (note: this refers to the actual votes cast, not the potential total number of votes if everyone, including those in walkover constituencies, is given the right to vote) had more than 95% representation in parliament leaves many issues for one to ponder over.

And this is exactly the case with Singapore. In the last general election in 2001, only 675,306 of the 2,036,923 eligible voters (33.2%) actually voted, due to the large number of uncontested seats. Would you call that a strong mandate to govern?

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Stephen Yeo
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As reported in the Straits Times:

While seven in 10 young Singaporeans claimed they wanted to vote in the coming General Election, in the same breath, six in 10 said they would not be disappointed if there was a walkover in their constituency and they didn’t get to vote. In other words, the vote is nice to have, but if they don’t get it, it wouldn’t really matter to them.

Well then, I suppose young Singaporeans have no cause for complain if they’re treated like dirt by the government since they don’t value their right to vote in the first place.