Let 18-year-olds vote, contest first if need time on other parts of Undi18, youth minister tells EC

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican said his and all the 211 MPs' stand did not change in this matter, which is to see the public given access to democracy process. — Bernama pic
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican said his and all the 211 MPs' stand did not change in this matter, which is to see the public given access to democracy process. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican has today urged the Election Commission (EC) today to implement some parts of the Undi18 Bill that was passed in 2019, if it cannot do all.

The minister said the EC can start by letting 18-year-olds vote and contest in general elections first to give youths space in democratic participation, so they can register themselves as voters before automatic voter registration is enacted.

“In this matter, maybe the EC can see if there are any components in the amendment that can be implemented first before waiting for others,” he said in a statement.

Reezal also reiterated that his and all the 211 MPs' stand did not change in this matter, which is to see the public given access to democracy process.

“Voting is the right of every citizen and the guarantee for Undi18 to be implemented is a big commitment that needs to be borne by the EC,” he added.

Earlier today, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin also called out the Election Commissions (EC) for its decision to delay Undi18 until September 2022, saying the latter’s reasoning for doing so was preposterous.

Khairy also tweeted that he and Kepala Batas MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican would bring the matter up to Cabinet at their next meeting to urge the EC to implement Undi18 as soon as possible.

Yesterday, the EC announced that the lowering of the voting age to 18 and the accompanying automatic voter registration will not be implemented this year as scheduled.

The commission blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for causing delays to its implementation of the initiative that was unanimously approved by Parliament in 2019.

The EC said it needed to evaluate new obstacles and persisting issues as well account for the various movement control orders (MCO) that are in place.

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