The Undi18 NGO, which was the prime mover behind the successful amendment to lower the voting age and implement automatic registration, will file a suit against the government next week.
In a statement, it said the action to be filed on April 2 will seek to compel the Election Commission (EC) to automatically register all those aged between 18 and 21 as voters following the amendment to the Federal Constitution.
The NGO said it wants to hold the government “accountable to their promise” of implementing the gazetted changes.
“Undi18 strongly believes that youths between the ages of 18 and 20 should not be denied their constitutional right to vote. We believe that every vote matters in a democracy.
“Further delay on its implementation systematically discriminates against the voices of the youth.”
It added that it has been close to two years since the legislation was passed by the Parliament and that there should be no reason for the Malaysian government to further delay the implementation of lowering the voting age.
“Their excuse that there are delays with the implementation of the Automatic Voter Registration is untenable as 18 to 20-year-olds should be given the right to vote and have themselves registered as voters the conventional way.
“Undi18 asserts that the implementation of the Amendment to Article 119(1)(a) ought to be done first,” it said.
In a statement yesterday, EC chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said its preparations had been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic and had thus pushed the implementation to September 2022 at the earliest.
“The EC is committed to implementing auto-voter registration and Undi18 so that these plans will be in place for the 15th general election (GE15) in 2023, according to Article 55(3) of the Federal Constitution,” he said.
According to their records, this deferment will affect an estimated 1.2 million Malaysians aged 18 to 20.