KUCHING: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) agrees the voting age should be lowered from 21 years to 18, but says this should be implemented together with automatic voter registration, says its chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg (pic).
Abang Johari, who is also Sarawak Chief Minister, said many countries around the world already allowed voting at 18, so it should not be a problem for Malaysia to follow suit.
"We have agreed in terms of voters for the age to be adjusted downwards to 18," he said, adding that this was agreed during his meeting with GPS parliamentarians in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (July 2).
Asked if GPS wanted automatic voter registration along with lowering the voting age, Abang Johari said this was the view of the coalition's MPs.
"We prefer automatic registration. After all, the choice of voting is up to (voters), whether they want to vote or not, as long as their name is in the list.
"You have to work with the National Registration Department. Once a person reaches the age of 18, they should be automatically registered," he told reporters after presenting Petronas education sponsorship to recipients here on Friday (July 5).
Abang Johari's view was similar to that of GPS' Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who said on Thursday (July 4) that automatic registration would benefit rural Sarawakians who faced accessibility problems.
Wan Junaidi also said he supported the Bill to lower the voting age regardless of the automatic registration issue.
On another matter, Abang Johari said he agreed with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the Sedition Act could be used against those calling for Sarawak's secession from Malaysia.
"You cannot talk about the sovereignty of the country. There is a limit. Once you touch on sovereignty, it can become a serious situation," he said.
Dr Mahathir had said that the Act would only be used in extreme cases when calls for secession jeopardised national security and public order.