Minister: Constitutional change to drop voting age at next Parliament meeting

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman delivers his opening remarks at the 'Rise of the Asian Tiger' convention in Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam April 1, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman delivers his opening remarks at the 'Rise of the Asian Tiger' convention in Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam April 1, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

SHAH ALAM, April 1 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will table a Bill to amend the Federal Constitution and lower the voting age from 21 to 18 years’ old at the next parliamentary meeting, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said today.

The youth and sports minister disclosed this after attending the “Rise of the Asian Tiger” convention at UiTM’s Shah Alam campus, saying the decision was made at the last cabinet ministers’ meeting.

“The Cabinet has made special provisions and agreed to amend the constitution to allow the lowering of the voting age limit from 21 to 18.

“For the first time we have also agreed on its timeline, where it would be tabled at the upcoming Parliament meeting in June and July,” he said.

The effort will need bi-partisan support as constitutional amendments must gain approval from two-thirds of federal lawmakers; PH only has a simple majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

Syed Saddiq also said his ministry will be the vanguard of the effort to ensure the youth have a bigger say in determining the country’s future.

PH announced its plan last September to lower the legal voting age.

Other countries that have since lowered their voting age to 18 include the US, the UK, India, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, and Australia.

Singapore’s legal voting age is also at 21.

Those aged 18 and above are recognised as legal adults under Malaysian law, and are able to obtain driving licences, sign legally binding contracts and marry without further adult consent.