Pakatan okays auto voter registration, voting age down to 18

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 09 Jul 2019

PUTRAJAYA: Pakatan Harapan has agreed with the proposal on automatic voter registration, along with its proposed move to reduce the voting age from 21 to 18.

The ruling coalition will also make 18 as the minimum age for Malaysians to be fielded as candidates in general elections.

The Pakatan Harapan presidential council gave the green light in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.

The decision came as Opposition MPs from Barisan Nasional, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak said they would support lowering the voting age to 18 if it comes with automatic registration of voters.

The Bill to amend Article 119 of the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age was tabled by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman last Thursday.

The Bill is expected to be read for the second time today before being put to the vote on July 16.

However, it requires a two-thirds majority of 148 votes in the House to amend the Federal Constitution.

Pakatan only has 139 MPs, nine short of the two-thirds majority.

Syed Saddiq said a meeting on the matter would be held in Parliament tomorrow involving party leaders, including those from the Opposition.

The meeting will be chaired by Dr Mahathir.

He said there would be three constitutional amendments – lowering the voting age to 18, introducing automatic voter registration and reducing the age of candidacy to 18.

“We will put the amendments in writing and they will be discussed in the meeting. I have already notified the Attorney General’s Cham­bers and the Election Commission so they can act on this.

“I have to thank the Opposition for sharing their concerns on this matter. From saying no, and now to say yes, but with conditions.

“I raised their concerns in the Cabinet and the presidential council and now we have reached a unanimous agreement.

“This shows that bipartisanship can win in Malaysia,” said Syed Saddiq, adding that the three proposals would be executed during the current Parliament session.

On another matter, Dr Mahathir said the council agreed that the mandatory death sentence for those caught for drug trafficking should be removed.

He, however, stressed that it remained a very serious offence in Malaysia.

“The term ‘mandatory’ will be removed but the punishment will be at the discretion of the judiciary.

“The judge will decide whether it is life imprisonment or not. But as it is a very serious crime, the punishment should not be less than 10 years,” he said.

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