18-year-olds in Malaysia may be eligible to vote by December 31

23-Sep-2021 Intellasia | Mashable | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Malaysia is inching closer to having its minimum voter age lowered from 21 to 18.

On September 21, 2021, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar the minister in the prime minister’s Department overseeing Parliament and Law announced that the government would not seek to appeal the order made by the Kuching High Court for the implementation of Undi18 and the automatic voter registration system by December 31, 2021.

When asked by member of parliament (MP) Gobind Singh Deo, the minister said that a cabinet meeting held on September 10 had resulted in the decision to go ahead with the implementation of both changes by the end of the year.

“The Kuching High Court judge, when allowing the judicial review application on Undi18, had ordered for the lowering of the minimum voting age from 21 to 18, and the automatic voter registration to be implemented by December 31, 2021, at the latest,” he said.

“As such, despite the many constraints and shortcomings, the Election Commission (EC) is committed to ensuring the lowering of the voting age to 18, and the automatic voter registration to be implemented as ordered by the court.”

Big changes to come.

This decision comes after the Kuching High Court directly ordered the federal government to carry out the change that would enforce the objective of Undi18, and demanded that it take place by the end of 2021, instead of the September 2022 date suggested by the previous administration under then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

In 2019, the Amendment Act to allow for 18-year-olds in Malaysia to cast their votes during elections was signed by Malaysian monarch King Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah on September 4, 2019, and officially gazetted on September 10 a week later.

These changes, however, are still yet to be formally put into the country’s federal legislation, although the ruling by the High Court will now most likely see it come to pass before the start of 2022.

The motion to carry out Undi18 was given impetus after five youths from the Malaysian state of Sarawak representing Undi Sarawak a non-governmental organisation (INGO) filed a review application with the Kuching High Court to persuade the government of the day to carry out the changes in anticipation of the upcoming Sarawak state elections.

The eventual outcome of the review was not only the decision for Undi18 to be implemented by the end of 2021, but also the automatic voter registration system along with it.

Should things go according to plan, the changes should technically see all eligible Malaysians above the age of 18 become automatically enrolled in the voting system. This change would bypass the need for manual registrations that have been the norm until today.

In 2019, the EC estimated that Malaysia could very well see an increase of 7.8 million new voters by 2023 should the automatic system be successfully implemented.



Category: Malaysia

Print This Post

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.