PBB info chief on Undi18: Right to speak needs to be translated into right to vote

Idris Buang

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KUCHING, Sept 8: The right to speak belonging to youth aged over 18 needs to be translated into the right to vote.

This is the view of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Dato Idris Buang when it comes to the issue of Undi18.

“The views of the young people aged between 18 to 21 need to be expressed and taken into consideration in the country’s planning because they play an important part in the future direction of the country,” said Idris in a statement today.

While agreeing with the move to grant youth aged 18 the right to vote, Idris who is the Muara Tuang assemblyman also questioned whether it is practical to set a deadline for its implementation by the Election Commission (EC).

“In the face of a pandemic, we need to understand that the EC is facing various obstacles such as providing infrastructure for the registration system and updating the electoral roll.

“The High Court may have to consider these obstacles that the EC is facing. But we will wait. There may be an appeal from the EC,” said Idris.

Apart from the pandemic, Idris said there are many other factors stemming from the current situation that need to be taken into account.

“The EC is the best agency to be heard because they are an independent and responsible body appointed by the King for all matters related to elections which are to be conducted in a fair and democratic manner.”

Should there be an appeal, Idris said then Sarawakians will wait for a final decision from the apex court. Otherwise, the EC must carry out the existing order by the Kuching High Court.

If the EC cannot not carry out the Court’s order, it must provide a rational reason for the failure to do so.

“Disobeying any court order can invite a ‘contempt of court’ charge and sentenced to imprisonment,” said Idris.

On Sept 3, 2021, Kuching High Court judicial commissioner Alexander Siew How Wai ruled the government and EC’s action to delay Undi18 as “irrational, illegal, disproportionate and amounts to voter suppression”.

The court had also ordered the federal government to expedite the implementation of lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 latest by Dec 31 this year. — DayakDaily