KUCHING, July 17: The federal government should introduce civic education in schools to prepare children for citizenship and exercising their civil rights.
Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) chairman Datuk John Lau said it is high time that the country introduce in-depth civic and voting subjects in the public education system, so that students can learn first-hand about the power to influence changes in the government.
He added that children must develop a sense of civic responsibility by understanding politics, democracy, system of government, the Constitution, history, rights and election process in order to be an informed member of the society.
“Start them young to prepare them for democracy, so they can make important decisions when they go out into the world and to vote,” he said in a press statement.
Lau was responding to the Bill to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, which was approved in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
The amendments to Article 119(1)(a), to reduce the minimum age at which a person could vie for political office to 18 and and Article 47 for automatic registration as a voter on reaching the age of 18, were also passed.
Lau welcomed the changes that will enable automatic registration for 18 years old, as there were still many potential voters in Sarawak yet to register.
“There are many factors that citizens do not register as voters in Sarawak, which could be due to infrastructure issue or Internet accessibility, especially in the rural areas.
“The automatic voters registration will solve this problem and the government will save money from having to send manpower out to help with voters registration,” he added.
He further commended the approved Bill, which marked a significant milestone in Malaysia’s political arena, as it demonstrated the maturity of lawmakers in putting aside political differences for the good of the country.
“SPA calls upon the federal government to do the same in restoring the equal rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 between Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah.
“It is important for the federal government to have constant consultations with Sarawak and Sabah governments before amending the Federal Constitution to return equal rights to both states,” he said. — DayakDaily