Undi18 announces legal suit against Putrajaya after EC delays registration of young voters

In a statement, the group said the action aims to compel the EC to do so and is expected to be filed in one week on April 2. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
In a statement, the group said the action aims to compel the EC to do so and is expected to be filed in one week on April 2. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Persatuan Pengundi Muda, also known as Undi18, has announced today its legal action against the government after the Election Commission (EC) yesterday announced the delay registration of voters between 18 and 20 years’ old.

In a statement, the group said the action aims to compel the EC to do so and is expected to be filed in one week on April 2.

“In light of recent developments, Undi18 strongly believes that youths between the ages of 18 and 20 should not be denied their constitutional right to vote.

“We believe that every vote matters in a democracy. Hence, further delay on the implementation of the Undi18 Bill systematically discriminates against the voices of the youth,” the group said.

It added that it has been close to two years since the legislation was passed by the Parliament and that there should be no reason for the Malaysian government to further delay the implementation of lowering the voting age.

“Their excuse that there are delays with the implementation of the Automatic Voter Registration is untenable as 18 to 20-year-olds should be given the right to vote and have themselves registered as voters the conventional way.

“Undi18 asserts that the implementation of the Amendment to Article 119(1)(a) ought to be done first,” it said.

Yesterday, the EC announced that it has decided to postpone Undi18 and the accompanying automatic voter registration, citing Covid-19 for causing delays to its implementation.

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

Earlier this year, the move to give 18-year-olds the ballot had already come into doubt after a deputy minister suggested that Malaysians youths were not ready to participate in voting.

Federal lawmakers crossed the political aisle and voted unanimously to amend the Federal Constitution in July 2019 and lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18.

Undi18 can only take effect once it has been gazetted, which was scheduled for the second half of this year.

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