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KUCHING, March 26: Undi Sarawak, a campaign powered by Undi18, is demanding all Sarawakian politicians re-state their commitment to ensuring the voting rights of young Malaysians aged 18 to 20.
This call was made following Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh’s announcement that the implementation of the policies to lower the age of voting to 18 (Undi18) and have automatic voter registration (AVR) will need to be postponed until Sept 1, 2022, at the earliest as the Movement Control Order (MCO) has affected some of the preparations and plans.
“Undi Sarawak is extremely disappointed by the announcement … The news yesterday represents a huge setback to Malaysia’s progressive democracy.
“Despite the unanimous passage of the Undi18 Bill in Parliament back in 2019 and Constitutional Amendment in November 2020, both the Federal and State governments do not seem to take voting rights of the youth earnestly,” Undi Sarawak said in a statement today.
They pointed out that the government’s apparent lack of genuine efforts to prioritise the implementation of the bipartisan effort showed that the government is not interested in engaging youth nor in giving them a voice.
“This is extremely regrettable as the youth in Malaysia makes up a significant portion of the population, and they should rightly be given a say in this country’s future.
“We call upon both the Federal and State governments to build on the genuine efforts to empower the political participation of the youth in politics as well as to respect and restore the democratic voices of the youth and to stop holding the youth back from having a say in electing their representatives.”
Undi Sarawak also noted that the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) had during the November 2020 sitting passed the bill to lower the voting age to 18 and to make 18 the minimum age for a Malaysian citizen to run for public office.
“It makes little to no sense for a Sarawakian youth to be able to vote during the upcoming state elections but be denied the right to vote in a general election.
“The team at Undi Sarawak has consistently advocated for youth participation in politics through political literacy and building leadership skills as part of their preparation to be leaders of tomorrow.”
Undi Sarawak emphasised that both governments have a moral duty to empower the youth by implementing Undi18 without further delay. -DayakDaily