KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — The decision to allow candidates as young as 18 to contest in elections, starting with the Tanjung Piai by-election in Johor next month, is the start of a revolution in Malaysian democracy, according to Universiti Sains Malaysia political analyst Prof Sivamurugan Pandian.

He said that although it may seem strange that an 18-year-old can stand in elections despite not being allowed to vote, it could be a way or the Election Commission to find out acceptance by the stakeholders.

“I do not think this decision by the EC (to allow candidates as young as 18 to contest) is a rushed one, even though the lowering of the voting age (from 21 to 18) is yet to be finalised.

“Maybe, the EC wants to see the reaction to the  transition first, seeing age eligibility to vote still having technicalities,” he said when contacted by Bernama.


EC chairman  Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun at a press conference to announce the important dates for the Tanjung Piai election in Putrajaya yesterday revealed that candidates as young as 18 could contest.

He said amendments to Article 47 of the Federal Constitution which were gazetted on Sept 10 made this possible.

The amendment lowered the minimum to age to be eligible to contest in elections to 18 as compared to 21 before. 


However, he said the same could not apply to voting because the lowering of voting age from 21 to 18 had yet to be enforced.

Elaborating further, Sivamurugan said candidates in this group (18-21) must be reminded that being an MP was not a “walk in the park”.

“I believe some of them are likely to be more responsible than some of those in the higher age group who can be provocative and emotional,” he added.

Prof Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod, a political analyst from the International Islamic University Malaysia, did not see it (lowering of the age of candidacy) as an issue even though the timeline for the group to register as voters has not been finalised.

“This is because, the aspirants only need to meet the requirements to be a candidate under the existing laws and be present on nomination day,” he explained.

According to him, the move is a brave and comprehensive one in view of the group having the potential to upstage their older counterparts because of their youthful dynamism.

Malaysian Youth Council president Jufitri Joha said it was something to be celebrated it was the pathway for them to represent their peers in Parliament.

“Although the process to allow 18-year-olds to vote will take some time, we enable their candidacy in elections,” he said.

Nomination for the Tanjung Piai by-election is on November 2 and polling on November 16 .

The by-election has been necessitated by the death of the MP, Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik, of Pakatan Harapan-Bersatu on September 21 of heart complications. He was 42.

Dr Md Farid, who was a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and an anaesthesiologist by profession, had helped PH capture the seat in the 14th general election in May 2018.

The deputy chairman of the Bersatu Tanjung Piai division had polled 21,255 votes to beat Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng (BN-MCA) and Nordin Othman (PAS) by 524 votes. Wee had garnered 20,731 votes and Nordin, 2,962 votes. — Bernama