Kit Siang’s aide backs lowering voting age to 18

People line up to vote during the general election in Kuala Lumpur May 9, 2018. — Reuters pic
People line up to vote during the general election in Kuala Lumpur May 9, 2018. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary Syahredzan Johan today urged the government to amend the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.

Syahredzan pointed out that DAP veteran Lim had, in 1971, suggested allowing 18-year-olds to vote in elections and mooted the creation of a parliamentary committee to study this proposal, but no concrete steps were taken.

“I support any effort by the federal government to implement this, since it was one of the pledges in Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto for the 14th general election,” Syahredzan said in a statement.

Any constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Pakatan Harapan (PH) only has a simple majority, but support from Sabah and Sarawak parties, who have since left Barisan Nasional (BN), could get the federal government close to two-thirds majority.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told Malay Mail in an exclusive interview that his administration may lower the voting age to 18, after the 14th general election last month saw BN ousted from power after six decades.

Many countries around the world have adopted 18 as the legal qualifying age to vote, including in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, India and Iran. In South-east Asia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia have all followed suit.

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