KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said he hopes Malaysian youths will become more aware of the concept of parliamentary democracy and their roles as voters after the Undi18 Bill now allows 18-year-olds to vote in elections.
In his National Youth Day address today which was broadcast live, Ismail said that in 2020 the number of voters aged between 21 and 40 was 6.2 million people, making up 40.8 per cent of the total 15.3 million registered voters.
He added that the increasing involvement of young people in the country’s political arena is a positive sign and needs to be expanded more widely.
“On March 12, 2022, the country created a new history when youths were for the first time given the right and mandate to vote in the Johor state election, which recorded an increase of about 28 per cent with the addition of nearly 750,000 voters aged 18 years old and above, from the total of 2.6 million registered voters following the Undi18 automatic registration.
“With the implementation of this Undi18, it is hoped that the youths will be more literate and knowledgeable about the parliamentary democracy system and their role as young voters and further enhance youths’ identity to become responsible citizens ahead of the next general election,” he added.
Ismail said that youth leaders must also be aware and alert of the enforcement of amendments to the Youth Organisations and Youth Development Act 2007 (Act 668) which involves lowering the age limit for youths from 40 to 30.
He added that the amendment to this Act can birth more youth leaders under the age of 30, further providing space for youths to hone their leadership talents and gain as much experience as possible through the spaces left.
“Youths are the backbone of the Malaysian Family. Therefore, the government always appreciates the role and contribution of youths in various fields to recognise and appreciate the services and contributions of youths in the development of the country,” Ismail added.
He said that the government, through the Youth and Sports Ministry, will introduce a new award category under the Anugerah Perdana Belia Negara awards this year, as an initiative to inject enthusiasm into youths, to continue contributing for the development of the country.
“A total of seven new awards for the search for outstanding youth icons in the categories were contested in 2022, namely; Charismatic Youth Icon, Environmental Sustainability Youth Icon, Techno Design Youth Icon, Influencer Youth Icon (Social Media),Sanjungan Budi Youth Icon, Youth-Biz Icon, the OKU Youth Icon.
“I am also pleased to announce that starting this year, the Anugerah Belia Perdana Negara will be held in a glorious special ceremony and the use of the HBN Celebration permanent logo, as the government’s commitment to recognising the implementation of programmes that celebrate the nation’s youths,” Ismail said.