KUALA LUMPUR: MCA is supporting the government's move to lower the voting age to 18, owing to the bi-partisan approach taken in the matter, says its president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).
Dr Wee (BN-Ayer Hitam) said MCA supports the constitutional amendments, hailing the bi-partisan effort as a new chapter in the history of the Malaysian Parliament.
He noted that Dr Mahathir had met up with Opposition leaders to discuss and negotiate support for the Bill, before it was tabled.
"The Prime Minister called us to sit down and discuss the Bill and we managed to resolve it in 20 minutes.
"Also commendable was the effort by young Muar minister (Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman), who personally met with MPs for their support, irrespective of their differing views.
"This is the mature politics and bi-partisan approach that needs to be put forward in the New Malaysia," he said when debating the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Parliament on Tuesday (July 16).
Dr Wee suggested the setting up of a bi-partisan committee to ensure the smooth implementation of automatic registration.
"The Election Commission has a lot of work to do and must work closely with the National Registration Department on the matter.
"I propose that a bi-partisan committee is set up to look into issues which may arise," he said.
He also suggested that the government amend relevant laws to make the age of maturity consistent with the age of voting.
He cited Section 12 of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, which currently states 21 as the legal age of marriage.
"How can a young person at 18, who is able to vote, become the Prime Minister and choose the government, still requires parental consent to get married if below 21?
"We need to streamline the laws to make the age of maturity consistent," he said.
He urged the government to implement the amendments to lower the voting age and automatic registration simultaneously, and not in stages.
The Bill was earlier read for the second time by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In addition to lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, the amendments are also seeking to lower the eligible age of electoral candidates to 18. and enable automatic voter registration by the Election Commission.