EC: 18-year-olds can only be registered as voters in two years’ time

Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun (left) and deputy chairman Azmi Sharom at the Battalion 4 General Operations Force Camp in Semenyih February 26, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun (left) and deputy chairman Azmi Sharom at the Battalion 4 General Operations Force Camp in Semenyih February 26, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 27 — Youths aged 18 now will still have to wait two years before they can be registered as voters.

Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Dr Azmi Sharom said even though the Dewan Rakyat in July had passed the Bill to amend the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age to 18, it does not mean that youths of that age can register as voters right away.

Explaining this to Bernama News Channel (Astro 502) in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Dr Azmi said the EC needed time to set up the automatic voter registration system.

“The automatic registration will be implemented within a year and a half, maybe two years,” he said.

Dr Azmi said the two-year period would also be necessary as the EC needed to prepare for the millions of additional voters, ensure sufficient polling centres and channels, as well as buy more ballot boxes and train more EC officials.

The turnout in the next general election is expected to reach over 22 million, compared with 14.9 million in the last general election in 2018, he said.

In addition to lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, the amendments also sought to lower the eligible age of electoral candidates to 18, and to enable automatic registration of voters by the Election Commission. — Bernama

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