KUCHING, Sept 4 — Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah today said he believes that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) does not have any problem with the 18-year olds voting in the next state election.
He said GPS MPs were among those who had voted for the amendment of the Federal Constitution to enable the youths to vote in parliamentary and state elections, slashing the floor age down from 21.
“But it is up to the Election Commission (EC) to take steps to enable the youths, upon reaching the age of 18, to be registered as voters,” he told reporters here.
“If they are not registered voters, then they are still not qualified to vote. It is the same with those who are 30 years old that they cannot vote if they have registered as voters.
“That is why the EC must make arrangements and not just keep quiet doing nothing. That is why I feel that the five youths took the case to the court because in their views they did not see the process was going to be arranged,” Karim, who is also the state minister of youth and sports, said.
He dismissed claims that GPS is afraid of the new votes from youths.
"There is no guarantee that the majority of them will support the Opposition parties.
“When we conducted a youth survey index, we asked those aged 16 to 18 years, whether they were satisfied with the existing government, especially in Sarawak, and the answer was yes,” he added.
Yesterday, Kuching High Court Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew How Wai, in his ruling, compelled the federal government and the EC to take all the necessary steps to allow 18-year-olds to vote by the end of this year.
The five Sarawakian students, aged 18 to 20, are also part of the Undi18 movement that successfully advocated for the lower voting age.
The five are Ivan Alexander Ong, Viviyen Desi Geoge, Tiffany Wee Ke Ying, Chang Swee Ern and Sharifah Maheerah Syed Haizir.