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KUCHING, Nov 6: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has called on politicians to stop politicising Undi18 as it could cause unnecessary confusion and further misinformation among the people.
“The simple and honest reason why this (Undi18) cannot be done before Dec 31 this year is because the Election Commission (EC) is not ready for it, implementation-wise, especially regarding the system.
“It is not because the government is afraid of allowing 18-year-olds to vote,” he said in a statement today.
He explained that when the Federal Constitution was amended in 2019 to lower the voting age to 18, it also came concurrently with the automatic registration of voters.
As such, there are many aspects of the implementation and the system that the EC needs to resolve, namely on logistics matters, voters’ registration as well as updating the electoral roll.
Wan Junaidi who is also Santubong MP further said upon the amendments of the Bill in 2019, the EC was given a timeframe until 2023 – in time for the original plan to involve the 15th General Election.
Based on the timeline set by the Commission, he said the processes will be completed by September 2022 in order for the system to run smoothly.
“Many things happened since then – from the change in government to the Covid-19 outbreak, which had disrupted the implementation process.
“Nevertheless, the EC will abide with the Kuching High Court’s decision to implement the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 by Dec 31, 2021 at the latest.
“I would like to remind everyone that issues concerning election and voting is a serious matter. We want to make sure that implementation is done smoothly so that we can avoid any room for dispute, and subsequently cause instability to the government voted by the people,” he pointed out.
At the same time, Wan Junaidi said the implementation of Undi18 and automatic voters’ registration would see more than a 40 per cent increase (6.1 million) in the number of voters to 21.2 million from 14.9 million voters registered in the 14th General Election.
As a result of this, he informed that the EC will be facing a massive task of cleaning up the list – together with other relevant agencies namely National Registration Department (NRD), Health Ministry and Prison Department – to ensure that only those eligible to vote are in the list.
“The electoral roll must be updated to remove those who have died, fallen sick, gone insane or are imprisoned. Similarly, those over the age of 90, the number of which has exceeded 7,000 people, have not been removed from the voter registration record.
“Another challenge that EC is facing now as a result of automatic registration, is to exclude certain segments of the community who are not eligible to be listed in the electoral roll.
“This is quite a challenging process as the EC needs to consult many parties on the matter. This will also include the amendment of relevant provisions in the Federal Constitution. It is a tedious process and time consuming,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily