KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has tabled the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 to lower the voting age to 18 for its second reading.
The Prime Minister, in his speech, urged lawmakers to throw their support behind the Bill as it requires a two-thirds majority of the Dewan Rakyat to be passed.
He said Pakatan Harapan, as the government, was given the mandate and power by the people, while the Opposition bloc realised that they could criticise the administration when there was a need.
“Since the change in government, the country continues to be stable and peaceful.
“This has enabled us to make amendments to laws and repeal oppressive laws according to the rule of law.
“We are also facing bi-partisanship which is put forward for the benefit of the nation. I urge that we all ensure that the amendments (to this Bill) are passed with the support of more than a two-thirds majority and to create a new history in Malaysia.
“Democracy is still well and alive in Malaysia, and it will be further strengthened with the energy and minds of the young,” he said during the second reading of the Bill on Tuesday (July 16).
Dr Mahathir said the government expected some 7.8 million new voters to be registered up to 2023 with the proposed automatic voter registration in the Bill.
As such, the government estimates that the number of voters in 2023 will increase by 50%, bringing it to 22.7 million voters compared with 14.9 million in the 14th General Election in May last year.
In addition to lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, the amendments also seek to lower the eligible age of electoral candidates to 18 and to enable automatic voter registration by the Election Commission.
The Dewan Rakyat is expected to vote on the matter later Tuesday (July 16). There will be 58 lawmakers who will be debating the issue.