PETALING JAYA: The authorities must have the political will to ensure 18-year-olds can vote in the next general election as promised in a bipartisan effort in 2019, said Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.
He said failure to do so would mean there are forces fearing new voters and the power of the youth.
“I understand the system is in place and the amendments have been passed. What is needed now is only the gazetting of the laws.
“Late last year, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan stated that implementation of the 18-year-old voting age and automatic voter registration are expected to commence at the latest by July this year.
“If the system does not come into being by July as promised, then this would mean there are those trying to block these new voters, ” said Syed Saddiq.
In 2019, Syed Saddiq was instrumental in pushing the “Undi 18” movement in Parliament which later led to the amendments to the various related election laws.
However, the then opposition Barisan Nasional insisted that for their support to lower the voting age to 18, the then Pakatan Harapan government must also put in place the automatic voter registration system. This bipartisan effort then succeeded, with unanimous support for the amendments in Parliament.
Syed Saddiq said he agreed to the request from the then Opposition as it was important for support from both Government and Opposition to lower the age to 18.
“We first had the argument that if 18-year-olds were tried as adults in a court of law and can get married without permission of his guardians, then why should he or she not be allowed to vote?
“Once we got past those arguments, the then Opposition asked for automatic voter registration, which was also timely.
“Now, if the authorities in charge of this turn around and say the 18-year-olds cannot vote in the next general election because they could not get it done, then I feel there is something they are afraid of from young voters, ” said Syed Saddiq.