Opposition: Pair lower voting age with automatic registration

PETALING JAYA: Umno has no issues with the government’s proposal to lower the voting age because the party had lowered its eligible age of membership to 16, said Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He added that Opposition lawmakers will meet today to determine whether to support or reject the government’s proposal to lower the voting age to 18.

“We hope to be able to arrive at a common stand,” he said.

PAS secretary-general and Kota Baru MP Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the party would accept the proposal to lower the voting age, provided the new law comes with automatic registration.

“What is the point of lowering the voting age if they don’t even register to become voters. It defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? If the government cannot meet this, I’m afraid PAS may not vote,” he said.

Takiyuddin said whether PAS would benefit was a separate matter and it would be up to them to plan how to attract young voters.

He claimed that in the 14th general election, there were 3.6 million people who were above 21 and eligible to vote but did not do so because they did not register.

MIC Youth, while welcoming the move, stressed that political education must also be provided to the youths and Its chief R. Thinalan suggested introducing political studies in schools.

“Political knowledge and education is very much necessary in order for young voters to understand the importance of voting, electing a government and the government’s role in its entirety.

“The young voters need to be steered onto the right path instead of influencing them emotionally in electing their representatives and government,” said Thinalan.

Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin agreed to lower the voting age to 18 as he said people are considered mature when they reach that age.

Bung said the youths’ political responsibilities should not stop at voting alone but could even be extended to standing as candidates in elections when they reach 18.

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