Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has expressed his disappointment over the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to postpone the implementation of lowering the voting age to 18 (Undi18) and automatic voter registration (AVR) to September 2022.
Khairy, in a statement today, said the EC’s excuse that the Movement Control Order (MCO) had derailed the commission’s planning was unreasonable as the MCO had already been enforced for over a year.
“The EC’s recent statement contradicts with the previous EC chairman’s statement, who on June 7 last year, said that the plan to implement Undi18 and AVR, that include amending existing laws and election regulations as well as preparing infrastructures and systems, will be completed latest by July 2021.
“The EC’s statement last year was also a reiteration of former Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk VK Liew’s statement on Oct 2019, which set a similar target to commence the implementation of Undi18 and AVR on July 2021.
“In fact, the reply given by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) in Dewan Rakyat last November also upheld July 2021 as the deadline to implement Undi18 and AVR.”
Khairy also highlighted that within five months after the reply in Dewan Rakyat was issued, the EC deferred the implementation by over a year, from July 2021 to Sept 2022.
The Rembau MP also urged the EC clarify as to why more discussions between political parties and non-governmental organisations were needed, when the Parliament has already approved Undi18.
In fact, he said, the engagement sessions could consistently continue without even having to disrupt the previous deadline.
Khairy said Undi18 was not merely an aspiration of the previous government, but also the fact that it had secured the approval of all political parties and a two-third majority from the lawmakers in Parliament. – NST