Abang Jo fine with lowering voting age, wants registration automatic

Abang Johari delivering his address at the Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme.

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By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, July 5: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg agrees with the move to reduce the eligible voting age from the current 21 to 18, provided registration of voters is automatic.

He said in many countries, the eligible voting age is already at 18; hence, there should not be any problem for Malaysia to revise its eligible voting age as well.

“After all, you are given a choice to vote at 18. A lot of countries voting age is already 18, so we just follow. I don’t think it’s a problem. Except some people said there is the issue of maturity. If the world has said 18, why not, I don’t mind.

“However, we prefer (registration would be) automatic. After all, the choice of voting would be up to them whether they want to vote or not, as long as his or her name is registered,” he said when commenting on the bill to lower the voting age, which was tabled in Parliament yesterday.

Meanwhile, when asked about the amendment to the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act, where youths are defined as those aged between 15 and 30 (previously 40 years old and below), Abang Johari said this had to be brought up in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) because many youth organisations had been registered under the Registrar of Societies (RoS) Act and not the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act.

“At the moment, it is still 40. The question is if it’s the registration of youth (Act), our assets have to be registered in Kuala Lumpur. We have autonomy in this.

“In other words, as far as youths are concerned, it’s concurrent up to DUN. We have to discuss with members of DUN whether we are going to accept or not (youths redefined maximum age of 30). Not necessarily we must accept what Kuala Lumpur is doing. Not necessary,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily