WP MP Leon Perera had asked before in Parliament for ballot secrecy – a critical subject especially in our political environment – to be taught in schools. His idea was rejected. Today, his idea got rejected again.
Our votes in elections are secret and can never be traced – no ifs, no buts.
So why does the government not want to expose new citizens to ballot secrecy education, as I suggested today in Parliament?
I have met many Singaporeans (old and new) who fear that their ballots can be traced and hence cast their votes out of fear.
As I shared in Parliament today, one new citizen I met told me that he would like to vote for the Workers’ Party but feared that he would lose his citizenship if he did.
There are around 20,000 new citizens joining the electorate every year. That’s the rough equivalent of one new Single Member Constituency each year and one new GRC every term of Parliament.
If many of them cast their votes out of fear, this will corrode our democratic society bit by bit. In time, our children and grand-children will grow up in what is effectively a non-democracy, where they cannot remove a failed government at the ballot box and would have to emigrate instead.
Last year, I asked in Parliament if the process behind ballot secrecy could be taught in schools. The answer was another no, on the grounds of “limited curriculum time” (how long does it take to teach this?).
Educating all Singaporeans (old and new) about ballot secrecy is critical. If the government does not act, I hope all of us who care about this issue can talk to our fellow citizens to ensure that no one buys into the urban legend about ballot tracing and casts their vote out of an irrational fear. What is at stake is the very survival of democracy in Singapore.
-as Leon posted on facebook
He Ting Ru, who shared Leon’s post, further added:
“While we do have limited time in schools, I believe we should make time to ensure that our children are taught the fundamentals about our country’s governance, which include our electoral process.”