Let’s talk about the Bill to let 18-year-old Malaysians vote, young politicians across the divide tell Election Commission

The young political leaders voiced concern that any delay may been seen as an attempt to deny young Malaysians their right to vote in the next general election that must be held by 2023, but which many anticipate will be called as early as this year. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
The young political leaders voiced concern that any delay may been seen as an attempt to deny young Malaysians their right to vote in the next general election that must be held by 2023, but which many anticipate will be called as early as this year. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Young political leaders from both the ruling coalition and the Opposition today questioned the Election Commission (EC) on the status of the Undi18 Bill that would make Malaysians eligible for voting from age 18 instead of 21.

In an open letter, the Youth leaders from DAP, Pejuang, Amanah, PSM, PKR, Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), Upko, Umno and Muda pointed out that the Bill was passed in Parliament two years ago but they were waiting to hold discussions with the election regulator.

“We are ready to be invited to attend a discussion or briefing session with the Election Commission so that we can convey the current information and status to the youth of our respective parties.

“It is important for us to acknowledge that this amendment has received a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara,” the politicians said in a joint statement.

The statement bore the names of DAP’s Howard Lee, Pejuang’s Dr Abu Hafiz Salleh Hudin, Amanah’s Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin, PSM’s Sharan Raj, PKR’s Akmal Nasir, Warisan’s Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman and Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas, Upko’s Felix Joseph Sitin, Umno’s Shahril Hamdan and Muda founder Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.

They also voiced concern that any delay may been seen as an attempt to deny young Malaysians their right to vote in the next general election that must be held by 2023, but which many anticipate will be called as early as this year.

“It is a concern that any action to delay the implementation of Undi18 could be interpreted as efforts to deny the rights of the youth to vote and choose their parliamentary representatives that are already prescribed under the Federal Constitution.

“As a country that practises freedom of democracy since independence, the denial of this rights to the youth will also adversely affect Malaysia’s reputation in the eyes of the world,” the young politicians said.

In 2019, Parliament unanimously passed amendments to the Federal Constitution lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 years old.

However, deputy EC chairman Azmi Sharom previously said the Undi18 Bill can only be implemented after the commission deals with automatic voter registration, which he estimated will be completed this June.

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