Bill to lower voting age has Sarawak Patriots Association’s support

David Hii

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KUCHING, July 3: Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) supports the proposed amendment to Article 119(1) of the Federal Constitution to lower the minimum voting age from the current 21 to 18.

Its secretary, David Hii Chin Loung, said legally in Malaysia, via the Age of Majority Act, 18-year-old Malaysians are considered adults.

“They do not have to obtain legal consent from their parents or guardians. They also have the legal capacity to enter into agreements on their own. They can enlist in the armed forces, civil or criminal enforcement agencies in the country, which implies they are ready to defend their country,” Hii said in a statement today.

Malaysians are also eligible for employment from the age of 14-16-years-old, subject to further protective provisions.

“As a result of which, they would have an understanding of the issues concerning youths in the country. It is only logical they should be given the right to vote as well,” he reasoned.

Hii opined that it was important for youths to be interested in political issues and current affairs for the betterment of Malaysia. This will be the first step in developing their interest.

“The importance of youths’ participation cannot be stressed enough, and we should encourage them, which in turn will develop into nation building and increased participation,” he said.

Hii also said 18 was the most common voting age in the world.

“In the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, just to mention a few, the voting age is 18-years-old. There are even countries with a minimum voting age of 17-years-old, such as, inter alia, Indonesia, Greece and North Korea. The youngest minimum voting age is 16-years-old, which is adopted by Argentina, Austria and Brazil, just to name a few,” he said.

The proposed amendment is expected to be tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

The amendment would require two-thirds majority support, which would require the support of the opposition lawmakers as well. A two-thirds majority requires the support of 148 MPs. Pakatan Harapan and its allies Parti Warisan Sabah and United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) only have 139 MPs in the 222-member House.

SPA urges the lawmakers to put aside their political differences and to give youths in Malaysia a voice to be heard. — DayakDaily