PUTRAJAYA, Aug 16 — The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) will set up a committee for the student voter education empowerment programme (Undi 18), said its minister, Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad.

She said the main function of the committee is to act as a platform for the MOHE; public universities; the Election Academy (APR) and the Election Commission (EC), to discuss the implementation of voter education programmes involving students from public institutions of higher learning (IPTA).

“This committee is also responsible for looking at the effectiveness of the implementation of the programme that has been planned, and subsequently proposing appropriate mechanisms to improve its implementation,” she said.

Noraini said this in her speech in conjunction with the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) and cooperation note between public universities, polytechnics, community colleges and EC for the Undi 18 programme today.

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She added that the committee will comprise representatives of Student and Alumni Affairs from 20 public universities, the Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education (JPPKK), APR and EC, with the Holistic Student Division, Department of Higher Education (JPT) as the secretariat.

She said the signing of the MoU and the cooperation note was a manifestation of MOHE’s support for the implementation of Undi 18, which was translated through collaboration between public universities, polytechnics, community colleges and EC in implementing voter education programmes for students.

Parliament, in July 2019, approved the proposed amendment of Section 3 (a) and (b) of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019, regarding the lowering of the voting age limit from 21 to 18 years. The amendment also involves the implementation of automatic voter registration by the government.

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Noraini said that, with the amendment, the majority of IPT students are eligible to vote as first-time voters in the upcoming general election (GE).

She added that the repeal of Section 15(2)(c) of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1975, and Section 10(2)(c) of the Educational Institutions (Discipline) Act 1976 in 2019, has allowed IPTA students to engage in politics within and off campus, including running as election candidates.

“The fact is that these two changes have presented a greater role to IPT students to be involved more meaningfully in the country’s democratic process, and demand the commitment of the government, especially the MOHE, to provide exposure and understanding to students about the democratic system, elections and the country’s politics,” she said. — Bernama