If 18-year-olds can marry and drive, let them vote

JULY 3 — There are a few youngsters going online and saying “I’m too immature to vote, so I disagree with lowering the minimum voting age.”

Come here and let Auntie Erna smack you (in a non-violent manner, possibly with a pillow).

In Australia the minimum voting age is 18 and it is compulsory for all citizens.

Are you implying, dear Malaysians, that our 18-year-olds are dumber than their Australian counterparts?

In some countries such as Scotland you can vote at the age of 16 and there are some countries considering doing the same thing.

Let’s be real — we have politicians who I’d be frankly surprised if they could find their own knees in the dark, but we worry about 18-year-olds being unable to make mature decisions.

Maturity isn’t age-based and I’ve met 15-year-olds smarter than some of our MPs.

Thing is, I think our politicians have gotten so used to pandering to the so-called adults that it seems too much work to try and appeal to youngsters.

This is after all a country, that not too long ago thought appointing near-geriatrics to the post of youth minister made sense.

Eighteen-year-olds are old enough to drive vehicles, something that requires a decent amount of hand-eye co-ordination and the ability to pass the highway code test.

Girls under 16 can even be given special permission to marry and be mothers — are you saying a hypothetical child who marries at 15, and has her own child at 17, is still too immature to vote?

Goes to show just how much child marriage is taken lightly in this country when the only thing that is required is the ability to have carnal relations.

If you don’t think the 18-year-olds have enough information to vote, provide it for them. The Internet exists.

Political parties should put their manifestos and all-important information online, instead of relying on whisper campaigns or local media quoting them in the clickbait of the day.

Get rid of voter registration too while we’re at it — all Malaysians are already, privacy be damned, registered under the National Registration Department.

Get MyKad scanners, verify citizenship and better yet, make it mandatory as well as a no-brainer to vote wherever you are.

Australians overseas, for instance, do not need to return home just to vote and can easily head over to their nearest embassy.

Voting should be easy, not needlessly hard. If voting really is that important then shouldn’t it then make sense for 18-year-olds to be in on the process too?

So many of our youngsters are already working at 16, getting married at even younger ages and are not the sheltered, ignorant bunch some make them out to be.

Let everyone of age vote, and by “of age” I mean 18. It’s time we let those to whom the future belongs have some say in what that future will look like.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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