AS A group, 77 per cent of those aged between 21 and 35 say there’s a need for more opposition politicians in Government.
But it appears it’s the older lot that make a louder argument.
Among those aged 31 to 35, 81 per cent feel a need for more opposition. It’s down to 78 per cent among the 26-to-30 year olds, and 72 per cent among those 21 to 25.
There are now two opposition Members of Parliament – Mr Low Thia Khiang (Workers’ Party, representing Hougang) and Mr Chiam See Tong (Singapore Democratic Alliance, Potong Pasir) – and one non-constituency MP, Ms Sylvia Lim (Workers’ Party).
How many more opposition politicians would the young voters like to see?
More than two-thirds of the respondents said they would like 20 per cent of Parliament to be made up opposition politicians. That works out to at least 17 Opposition MPs, out of 87 seats in Parliament up for grabs at this election.
Even if they don’t win any seats, the Opposition is guaranteed a minimum of nine seats in Parliament after this election.
That’s because of the amended Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Scheme mooted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and passed by Parliament last April.
Under the scheme, if less than nine opposition politicians get elected, their ranks will be topped up to nine by allowing the best-performing losers to be admitted into Parliament as NCMPs.
Singapore Management University law lecturer Eugene Tan was surprised that the youngest respondents feel the least need for more opposition representation in Government, “given the conventional wisdom of young voters having more liberal tendencies and being less enamoured of the PAP”.
He said: “It may suggest that the young voters are not going to support the proposition that Singapore needs more opposition merely for the sake of it.
“It may indicate that the young voters have certain minimum standards for the opposition.
“And if that standard is not met, then it may be better not to have poor quality opposition. If so, then we do have discerning young voters.”
While many young voters are unaware of opposition parties, they make a call for more opposition politicians in Government.
Not so, said Associate Professor Tan Ern Ser of the Institute of Policy Studies.“One may want to get married, yet know – and need to know – only a handful of potential mates.”