PM confident of two-thirds vote for ‘Undi 18’, doubts Opposition will backtrack on promise

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad holds a press conference in Parliament building July 10, 2019, as Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan and Datuk Seri M. Saravanan look on. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad holds a press conference in Parliament building July 10, 2019, as Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan and Datuk Seri M. Saravanan look on. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is confident his government has the requisite two-thirds backing to pass its constitutional amendment Bill and lower the voting age from 21 to 18.

The prime minister strongly believes the Opposition MPs will not renege on their promise to back the Bill after the Pakatan Harapan agreed to include their proposals for automatic voter registration and dropping the age on election candidates to 18 too.

“During our briefing this morning, the Opposition had given their assurance that they will support the amendment as we have included automatic registration and the rights for 18-years-olds to become candidates.

“We are confident, don’t think they would lie to me,” he told a press conference at the Parliament lobby here today.

Also present at the media conference were Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.

Ismail thanked the ruling party for agreeing to demands to have the amendment passed in Dewan Rakyat.

“I just want to say that when we asked for candidates to eligible at 18, it does not mean it will be automatic. That will depend on the relevant parties.

 “The move by the government today by withdrawing the Bill to retable it tomorrow shows that they are serious,” said the Bera MP.

Meanwhile, Syed Saddiq said that automatic voter registration will be applicable to all Malaysians above the age of 18 once it is enforced, including those who have not themselves registered as voters.

Earlier, the Bill to amend the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age was withdrawn, with a fresh Bill to be tabled tomorrow.

The withdrawn government Bill, which proposed to amend Article 119 (2) (a) of the Federal Constitution, was cleared for its first reading on Thursday.