KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — The Undi Sarawak group won leave from the High Court here to proceed with its application for judicial review of the federal government, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to the defer lowering the legal voting age.
A statement released by Undi Sarawak acknowledged and thanked the court for its leave, which paves the way for a judicial review hearing set for June 30.
Stressing the importance of implementing the move to lower the voting age to 18 from 21 immediately, the group said the matter was especially significant to Sarawakian youths as state election was expected to take place soon.
This, they said, is more pressing considering the state legislative assembly already due for dissolution this year.
“The implementation of this bill is made more pertinent for approximately 125,000 to 135,000 Sarawakians aged 18 to 20 as Sarawak State Elections ought to be held once the Sarawak State Assembly eventually dissolves with the eventual lifting of the Emergency Ordinance.
“We reiterate that the Undi18 bill must be implemented by July 2021 to ensure these young Sarawakians can exercise their rights as first-time voters during the upcoming state elections,” read the statement.
Undi Sarawak added that attempts to obtain a court order compelling the government to enforce the constitutional amendments needed for initiative known as Undi18 will continue until the matter is formally dismissed.
In 2019 and under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration then, MPs voted to amend Section 3(a) of the Federal Constitution’s Article 119(1)(a) to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, and Section 3(b) of the Federal Constitution’s Article 119(4)(b) to allow for automatic voter registration to replace the current system where Malaysians have to apply to be registered as voters.
However, both these two constitutional amendments — Section 3(a) and 3(b) — have not come into force in Malaysia yet, as they will only come into operation on a date to be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong via a notification to the public through a government gazette.
While the EC and the Malaysian government has repeatedly said before that the implementation of the lowering of the voting age to 18 and the automatic voter registration was expected to be done by July 2021, the EC had on March 25 said that both matters could only be implemented after September 1, 2022.