Lawmakers and social media users have taken to social media, to vent their frustration over the postponement of Undi 18 as the #PNipu hashtag trended at number one on Twitter in Malaysia today.
The hashtag refers to the Perikatan Nasional government’s decision to postpone lowering the voting age to 18 and automatic voter registration, despite the bill being unanimously passed in Parliament two years ago.
At 12.05pm, #PNipu registered 7,718 tweets and was the top trending topic in Malaysia.
Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who was the driving force behind the passing of the bill when in cabinet, called on young people to rise and fight for their rights.
“Youth. Rise! This is our time! The #PNipu government is robbing your rights to vote.
“There is no respect for the federal constitution,” he said in a tweet.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said he understood young people’s anger.
“Never give up… If we give up, then the #PNkhianat #PNipu #PNegcut will continue to win.
“For the sake of our beloved country, let’s continue to fight. We are seeds, they are trying to bury us, but one day…,” he wrote in his tweet.
Prominent lawyer Lim Wei Jiet described this as a blatant suppression of millions of voters.
“This is blatant voter suppression.
“In the US, gerrymandering & suppressing tens of thousands of racial minorities from voting is common, but they take place across decades.
“In Malaysia, we suppress 3 million voters with a single press statement overnight,” he said.
Meanwhile, a user under the handle @Nat_ED27 described this as a mockery of Malaysia’s democracy.
“18-year-olds are expected to be mature adults, but denying our right as citizens to elect leaders as a strategy to gain power?
“Immature. This is a mockery of Malaysia’s democracy,” he said.
@rfqbhqi on the other hand said young people could marry and go to prison at 18, but voting is prohibited.
“They can just bend the law to their liking, this is no different than a dictatorship. Democracy is just an illusion now,” @bella_tannn tweeted.
“The fact that they don’t let 18-year-olds vote just exceedingly proves that they’re scared of losing #PNipu,” @fikahensem said.
Yesterday, the Election Commission (EC) said it was postponing implementation of Undi 18 until September next year.
This is a departure from earlier statements by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Takiyuddin Hassan, who said it was on track for July this year.
The EC said the movement control order (MCO) had affected its planning and preparations to lower the voting age.
Meanwhile, Undi 18, the youth organisation that lobbied for the bill to pass two years ago, urged Malaysian citizens aged 18 to 20 to be given their voting rights immediately. – TMI