KUCHING, Oct 18 — Any attempt to hold the 12th state election before the implementation of Undi18 and automatic voter registration (AVR) this December 31 is akin to an act of voter suppression, DAP MP Dr Kelvin Yii warned today.
Yii said Sarawak is still under the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021 until February 1, 2022, and there is no justifiable reason that the state election should be held earlier given the current Covid-19 situation in the state.
“The main focus now is to control and manage the Covid-19 situation in the state especially to improve further certain important health parameters including our intensive unit (ICU) bed utilisation, reduce deaths and brought-in-dead cases and improve our contact tracing and quick isolation abilities,” he said in a statement
He said with the implementation of Undi18 and AVR, there are more than 1.9 million eligible voters who would be able to take part in determining the political future of the state.
“In my constituency of Bandar Kuching alone, we are looking at an additional 29,542 new voters consisting 4,433 in Padungan, 8,745 in Pending, and 16,364 in Batu Lintang state constituencies.
“There is a surge in the number of voters under the Undi18 list because not only the voters above 18 years old are now eligible to vote, but all eligible voters are automatically registered as voters,” he said.
He added this is something that he strongly welcomes, especially to see more young people be part of the democratic process as the state pushes for a more progressive, constructive, and participatory brand of politics.
“For a long time, youths in Malaysia were alienated from the political process,” he said, pointing out in 1971, the then Barisan Nasional government introduced the Universities and University Colleges Act which, among others, banned students from taking part in politics.
“That is why we must not take a step back. Taking the voices of the youth for granted and denying them the right to vote is an outright regressive move,” Yii said.
He said youth empowerment must be central to the government’s agenda, and it must embody the fact that the youths are not just the leaders of the future but are also the leaders of today.
“The harder you try to silence the youth, the louder they will fight back,” he cautioned.