Singaporeans split on whether minority rule should be applied to next presidential election: poll

This article is the last in a series based on a survey commissioned by Yahoo Singapore, and conducted by Blackbox Research, on political succession in Singapore.

Singapore’s Parliament House. (Photo: Reuters)

Singaporeans are split on whether the proposed minority requirement for the Elected Presidency (EP) should be implemented for the next presidential election, a recent survey has shown.

Out of 897 Singaporean respondents polled by Blackbox Research, 469 (52 per cent) were in favour of having the changes introduced by the next election – which has to be held by 26 August 2017 – while 428 (48 per cent) were against the idea.

Among the Constitutional Commission’s suggested changes to the EP that were accepted by the government was a move to reserve elections for candidates from a particular race, if no one of that race has been elected president after five consecutive terms, or 30 years. 

This would strike an “appropriate balance” between multiracialism and ensuring a president from minority races, said the government in its White Paper released on 15 September.

Poll results broken down

(Source: Blackbox Research)

Going by ethnicity, the poll commissioned by Yahoo Singapore showed that 46 per cent of Chinese respondents wanted the minority requirement implemented by the next presidential election, while 71 per cent of Malay, 80 per cent of Indian and 60 per cent of those in the Others category felt the same way.

In total, the poll covered 683 Chinese respondents, 129 Malay, 65 Indian and 20 “Others”.

While opinions were evenly split across genders, younger respondents – those in the 15-24 (63 per cent) and 25-34 (64 per cent) age categories – favoured having the new minority rule by the next election.

Across the housing categories, 61 per cent of non-HDB dwellers were opposed to having the minority rule applied by the next presidential election, compared with 56 per cent of HDB residents who were for its implementation.

A full parliamentary debate on the proposed EP changes is due to be held in November.

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