Federal Constitution has to be amended before changing voting age from 21 to 18

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 26 Sep 2015

SEREMBAN: Only the ruling party can decide if the voting age should be lowered from the present 21 years, Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said.

He said the change could be done only if it had a two-thirds majority in Parliament or if it received the support of the majority of MPs as it involved amendments to the Federal Constitution.

“There is nothing the EC can do as it involves amendments to the Federal Constitution,” he said when asked if Malaysians should be allowed to vote upon attaining the age of 18 in line with global trends.

Although most nations have 18 as the minimum voting age, some countries such as Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Nicaragua and Scotland have even reduced it further to 16.

Several governments, which had set 18 as the minimum voting age, were now encouraging debates if they should also follow suit to reduce it to 16, based on perception that the age was enough for political maturity to make sound political judgments.

Seventeen is the voting age in Indonesia, North Korea, Seychelles, Timor Leste and several other countries. The voting age in Iran was 15 before 2007, but this was increased to 18.

Among the other few countries where the voting age is still 21 are Singapore, Kuwait and Tonga. Kuwait, however, plans to reduce it to 18.

Related story:

MPs split over lowering voting age to 18

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