Undi Sarawak campaigners want court to compel Undi18 enactment before state polls in August

KUCHING: Five Sarawakian youths representing the Undi Sarawak campaign have filed a judicial review at the High Court here seeking to compel the implementation of Undi18 by July, ahead of the state election due in August.

The application by Ivan Alexander Ong, Viviyen Desi George, Tiffany Wee Ke Ying, Chang Swee Ern and Sharifah Maheerah Syed Haizir was filed on Monday (May 3) and named the Prime Minister, Malaysian government and Election Commission as respondents.

In its filing, the group said the delay in lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 years was irrational, illegal, disproportionate and amounted to voter suppression.

They are seeking a declaration that youths aged 18 to 20 have a legitimate expectation of having the right to vote by July this year and to compel the respondents to lower the voting age on or before July.

"This is made more pertinent for approximately 125,000 to 135,000 Sarawakians aged 18 to 20 as the Sarawak state election ought to be held by Aug 7 once the ongoing Emergency period ends in early August.

"Hence, the Undi18 Bill must be implemented by July 2021 to ensure these young Sarawakians can exercise their rights as first-time voters during the upcoming state election," the group said in a statement on Tuesday (May 4).

Undi Sarawak said it welcomed the government's renewed commitment to implement the lowered voting age as stated by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan recently.

"It remains to be seen whether there is a fixed course of action and timeline to do so," the group added.

Takiyuddin said on Sunday (May 2) that the government will implement Undi18 this year but could not give an exact time frame to do so.

"If we can do it by July, we will do it," he said.

In July 2019, Parliament passed a constitutional amendment to lower the minimum voting age to 18 and to allow automatic voter registration.

But in late March this year, the Election Commission said this could only be implemented by September next year.

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