KUCHING: Opposition parties should stop using Undi18 to claim that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is rushing to hold the state election ahead of its implementation, says the GPS Backbenchers Club.
"We lament that the Opposition parties are resorting to new lows by trying to create a perception that GPS is not giving youths the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights.
"It is disappointing to see that when the Opposition parties feel the state election is near, they (revert) to their old strategy of inciting anger among youths, similar to what we saw in the 14th General Election in 2018," it said in a statement on Monday (Oct 18).
The Backbenchers Club was responding to claims by Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and Sarawak Pakatan Harapan leaders that GPS was rushing to hold the state election soon to prevent 18- to 21-year-olds, who will be eligible once Undi18 is implemented by Dec 31, from voting.
It said the Opposition was "throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks", which could be interpreted as a sign of desperation.
It also defended GPS' record in championing youths, saying they were not left out from government initiatives and policies.
Citing examples, it said the state government had come up with an incentive to pay 30% of National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans for eligible borrowers and created the Graduan Pulang Sarawak initiative for Sarawakian students in higher learning institutions elsewhere in Malaysia.
In addition, the Backbenchers Club said, several initiatives had been introduced to empower youths and groom them as leaders of the next generation.
"We call on Opposition parties to not mislead the youths further for the sake of scoring brownie points.
"Youths can see and evaluate for themselves the contributions of the state government and how its policies have benefitted them," it said.