Passing of ‘Undi 18’ Bill enables greater participation in nation building

Voon Shiak Ni

KUCHING, July 17: The passing of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to lower the country’s voting age from 21 to 18, will see millions of young people having their voices heard come next general election.

Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-chairperson Voon Shiak Ni described the amendment, dubbed “Undi 18”, as a historical milestone by the government of the day in according rights to vote for young people in Malaysia.

“This is pertinent for the interest of the younger generation as a vote means a voice,” she said in a press release today, adding that that their voice was of utmost importance in building and shaping the society and nation, which they aspire to live in.

She added: “This is a positive development in developing and promoting political awareness as well as enhancing the social responsibility at a young age to see greater participation of young people in nation building.”

Voon was responding on 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 which a person could vie for political office to 18, and Article 47 for automatic registration as a voter on reaching the age of 18, were also passed.

“With the automatic registration of all Malaysians as voters when they are of eligible age, we are expecting a surge of about 7.8 million new voters in the next general election,” she said.

“The incorporation of automatic registration of voters will save a lot of manpower and resources such as in manning voters registration drives by political parties and rights groups to register voters,” she added.

She commended Malaysia’s achievement as it reflected total bipartisanship from leaders across the political divide.

On Tuesday, a total of 211 of 222 lawmakers voted for the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019, which surpassed the two-thirds parliamentary majority of 148 needed to amend the Federal Constitution. Eleven MPs were not present for the vote. — DayakDaily