Najib: Barisan will support lowering of voting age to 18

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 04 Jul 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak says Barisan Nasional will support the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18.

The former prime minister said he would file an application in the High Court to excuse him from court proceedings on July 16 so he could attend Parliament and support Pakatan Harapan's bid.

On Monday (July 1), the High Court denied Najib's request to skip a day in court to attend Parliament after hearing an application from Najib's lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and the counter-argument from Thomas, who objected.

"It is the judge who decides, and the AG objected to it in the first instance. So I think if the AG doesn't object (this time), then there should be no reason why I should be deprived of my constitutional right as an MP.

"A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds (Parliament) majority and requires every single MP to be present, whether they support it or not," he said.

Najib pointed out that the previous Barisan Nasional administration was liberal and allowed politicians with ongoing court cases to attend Parliament sittings, citing the example of the late Karpal Singh.

"The court adjusted dates to accommodate to him when he was counsel, even when he was an accused," he said, adding that there was less latitude today.

Pakatan Harapan is set to table the third reading on the Bill to amend voting age from 21 to 18 on July 16.

Meanwhile, Najib said that Barisan MPs were in support of the Bill to lower the voting age, as this was the trend in many other countries.

However, he said he was worried that this could lead to political instability due to the maturity level of today's youth.

"People of that age are very impressionable and can be easily swayed.

"Second, schools should not be the battle ground for political parties. Universities are fine, but not schools," he said.

Najib was speaking to reporters after meeting with Youth Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman over the issue.

He said the meeting with Syed Saddiq was "positive", saying that they both agreed that Malaysian politics should rise above personal attacks and character assassination.

"We can disagree on policies and issues, and that is where Malaysian politics should be as opposed to attacking a person's character," he said.
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