PETALING JAYA: Following the delay on the implementation of Undi18, electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 has demanded the setting up of an independent committee consisting of representatives from across political divides and civil societies to investigate the matter.
Bersih 2.0 said the independent committee should be authorised to open files and submit information, including contracts and costs for automatic voter registration preparation, tender process by the Election Commission (EC), reasons for delay and contractor responsibilities and compensation to be paid for failure as scheduled.
In a statement Thursday (April 8), Bersih 2.0 dismissed excuses given by EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh over the delay on the implementation of Undi18 as absurd.
"Abdul Ghani's absurd and deliberate excuse of hiding the problems that took place in the automatic voter registration would undermine public confidence in the integrity of his leadership," it said.
Bersih 2.0 also questioned whether the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (April 7) had decided on separating the implementation of lowering the voting age to 18 years old and the automatic voter registration.
"The good news that Malaysians have been waiting for a week did not happen," it said.
The electoral watchdog questioned whether Science, Innovation and Technology Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican had actually presented the proposal to the Cabinet as promised on March 31.
Meanwhile, Bersih 2.0 demands de facto law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan to state his stand and PAS' stand on the separation of implementation of Undi18 and automatic voter registration.
"Undi18 could have already been enforced in Aug 2019, if not for PAS' demand to implement both at the same time.
"If PAS is not afraid of the youth votes, then Takiyuddin should support Reezal and Khairy's proposal to enforce Undi18 immediately while waiting for the automatic voter registration hurdle to be resolved," it added.
Bersih 2.0 also said the act of deliberating the implementation of Undi18 is akin to an act to suppress youth voters and it could ignite waves of public anger.
"Youths, who are already hampered by various education, economic and social issues, will not sit idly by while being bullied by hypocrite politicians who are trying to delay Undi18, after approving the constitutional amendment in the Dewan Rakyat unanimously on July 16,2019."
Calls to speed up the implementation of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 on the 18-year-old voting age have been gaining momentum from both sides of the political divide, as well as civil society organisations.
Based on latest records by the EC, Abdul Ghani has said the number of Malaysians aged 18 and above is 5.6 million, with 1.2 million aged between 18 and 20.
There are also 4.4 million individuals aged 21 and above who are eligible to vote, but are yet to be registered as voters.
Malaysians can sign a petition launched by MCA to pressure the EC on speeding up the implementation of Undi18 at https://www.change.org/p/suruhanjaya-pilihan-raya-malaysia-spr-segerakan-undi18?utm_content=cl_sharecopy_28252275_en-GB%3A8&recruiter=1191544247&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=tap_basic_share