Aye to Bill to lower voting age

MALAYSIAN parliamentarians got together to vote for a Bill that lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

That happened on July 16, 2019. It was indeed a day in history when the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 to lower the voting age was passed with a total of 211 votes in the Dewan Rakyat.

This meant that the Bill obtained overwhelming support for a constitutional amendment.

A Bill requires a two-thirds majority of at least 148 votes from the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat to amend Article 119 and Article 47 of the Federal Constitution.

In addition to lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, the amendments also sought to lower the eligible age of electoral candidates to 18, and to enable automatic registration of voters by the Election Commission.

“With this amendment, more Malaysian citizens would be entitled to vote and elect a government through an election, which is in line with a progressive democratic system,” read the Bill.

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

“Today marks the day that Malaysia is capable of standing on a global platform with moral integrity and political maturity,” he said.

The Bill obtained the Royal Assent on Sept 4, 2019 and was subsequently gazetted on Sept 10, 2019.

However, these 18-year-olds were not yet allowed to vote in subsequent polls such as the Tanjung Piai by-election, which took place in November 2019, as the amended law had not been enforced yet.

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