PN govt can’t continue to blame failures on Covid-19, Umno Youth chief says after Undi18 delayed

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Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki today said that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government cannot continue to blame Covid-19 for its failure to meet the demands of democracy and Malaysians.

He added that the move by the Election Commission (EC) to delay Undi18 is akin to disrespecting Parliament as the highest legislative body who had agreed by two-thirds majority in Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara to pass the Undi18 in July 2019.

“The rapid advancement of cross-border communications and information technology has led to a new reality of politics where the youth play a big influence and are more expressive of their opinions.

“That is why the decision to postpone Undi19 by the EC and Putrajaya may be regarded as an act that denies the right guaranteed by the Federal Constitution for the youth,” he said in a statement.

Asyraf was referring to the announcement by the EC yesterday to postpone the implementation of Undi18 and its accompanying Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) until September 2022.

“In fact, the Amendments to Clause (1) and Clause (4) of Article 119 and paragraphs (b) of Article 47 and Section 5 of the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution is a piece of political history that will enable of over 7.8 million new voters into the election system, thus determining leadership and direction of the country,” he said.

Asyraf then urged the government to fulfil its initial promise of implementing Undi18 in July 2021, at the same time provide all necessary infrastructure including adequate financial resources, cross-agency coordination and increased workforce.

Yesterday, the EC said that the implementation of Undi18 would be delayed to September 2022 due to unforeseen challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent movement control orders (MCO).

The EC said it needed to evaluate new obstacles and persisting issues as well as account for the various movement control orders (MCO) that are in place.

The move to give 18-year-olds the ballot had already come into doubt after a deputy minister suggested that Malaysians youths were not ready to participate in voting earlier this year.

Federal lawmakers crossed the political aisle and voted unanimously to amend the Federal Constitution in July 2019 and lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18, but it can only take effect once it has been gazetted, which has now been pushed to September 2022. – MMO