Youth advocacy group Undi18 is seeking clarification on the government’s timeline for the lowering of the voting age to 18.
While the group welcomes the government’s renewed commitment to realise Undi18, no date has been set on the actual implementation of the amendment.
“Undi18 still insists on further clarification from Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan (de facto law minister) and the government to provide a clearer timeline of the Bill’s implementation.
“We demand to know what are the existing technical challenges that currently impede the Bill’s swift execution,” Undi18 said in a statement today.
The group was responding to the decision made by the Cabinet earlier today where its members unanimously agreed to implement the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 as soon as possible.
Takuyiddin reportedly said that in line with the decision, the Election Commission (EC) would have to settle a few legal and technical matters to allow voters aged 18 years old and above to vote in the next election.
The Cabinet’s decision would be positive progress with regards to Undi18’s demands for the government to expedite lowering the voting age.
The group also in its statement expressed gratitude to Youth and Sport Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican, who has relentlessly advocated the Undi18 Bill in Cabinet meetings.
“We are thankful for his willingness to collaborate and consult with civil society organisations to ensure the voices of young people are heard in such important decision-making spaces,” the group said.
On July 16, 2019, Parliament unanimously passed a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.
Last November, Takiyuddin had said this initiative will be implemented in July.
However, several months later, the EC announced that the implementation could be delayed because lowering the age and the introduction automatic voter registration (AVR) could only be done by September 1, 2022.
Meanwhile, a Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda) leader pressed the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government today to allow 18-year-olds to vote by July, saying vague pledges to implement it soon were inadequate.
Responding to Takiyuddin’s statement this morning, Muda vice-president Lim Wei Jiet noted that this did not contain any specific date or timeline to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.
“To be honest, the PN government should commit to implementing Undi18 in or before July 2021. This is the date that has been promised many times before.
“People should not accept any date later than the promised July 2021 as if it is implemented later, the voter registration for those between 18 and 20 would take months and they may not be able to vote in the upcoming 15th general elections (GE15),” Lim said in a statement.