Undi18 and auto voter registration to start next year after delay by MCO, says EC

PUTRAJAYA: The movement control order has affected some of the preparations and plans put in place by the Election Commission (EC) to implement automatic voter registration and Undi18, it says.

Despite that, EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh has assured the people that the commission remains committed to the two initiatives, which will now be expected to take effect after Sept 1,2022.

“This (deadline) is what we came up with after we evaluated the constraints and problems that had affected EC’s earlier plans and preparations," he said.

He cited the MCO, enforced to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, as a reason for delaying the inception of the two initiatives.

“We are committed to the implementation of these initiatives that were passed by Parliament for them to be realised for the 15th general election in 2023, guided by Article 55(3) of the Federal Constitution, ” he said in a statement on Thursday (March 25).

Abdul Ghani said preparations for this are still underway such as system development, data checking and coordination, engagement with government agencies, political parties and non-governmental organisations.

Based on EC’s latest record, citizens aged 18 years and above number 5.6 million, of which 1.2 million are those aged between 18 and 20.

There are 4.4 million people who are aged 21 and above and eligible to vote but have not registered.

Abdul Ghani said EC will launch an automatic pre-registration system review via its portal in August, which will allow 5.6 million future voters to check and confirm their information.

“We will also be preparing an interim report on Undi18 and automatic voter registration, which is expected to be ready in September, ” he said.

On July 16,2019, Parliament unanimously passed the constitutional amendment for automatic voter registration to lower the voting age to 18 and to make 18 the minimum age for a Malaysian citizen to run for public office.

This amended Act was signed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Sept 4,2019, and gazetted on Sept 10,2019.

However, the automatic voter registration and lowering of voting age to 18 have yet to be completely put into the federal legislation.

As of today, Perlis, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak have amended their state constitutions to allow those at least 18 years old to stand in elections, while other states have yet to do so.

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