Electoral roll set to swell

Creating awareness: Tharma is elated about the increase in voters.

PETALING JAYA: The electoral roll will swell by 5.8 million on Sunday following the implementation of Undi18 by the Election Commission (EC).

Of the number, 1.2 million will be Malaysians aged between 18 and 20 while the other 4.6 million will involve those not registered earlier.

Their names will appear on the roll on Jan 16.

The electoral roll will also be updated on the 16th of every month and gazetted by the EC, instead of the current practice of updating it every three months.

“The 5.8 million will be the first batch to be automatically registered as voters following the implementation of Undi18 on Dec 15,” said an EC spokesman.

“This will represent a huge increase of about 40% in the electoral roll from about 15 million to about 21 million voters.”

The Federal Constitution was amended in Parliament in July 2019 to lower the minimum voting age to 18 from the current 21.

Another amendment allowed for automatic voter registration.

However, the delay in implementing these changes resulted in a case in the High Court last year to speed up the process.

On Sept 6, the Kuching High Court in Sarawak ordered the EC and the government to implement Undi18 by Dec 31.

On Sept 7, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar instructed the EC to implement Undi18 by the end of the year.

The Federal Government subsequently gazetted the date for the implementation of Undi18 to be on Dec 15.

“Based on data by the National Registration Department, between 40,000 and 50,000 Malaysians turn 18 every month.

“They will be automatically registered as voters and gazetted under the electoral roll by the 16th of each month,” the spokesman said.

Tharma Pillai, the founder of the NGO Undi18, was elated about the increase in voters.

“I am happy because this is what we have been working on for the past five years.

“To see it finally becoming a reality brings a lot of joy,” he said when contacted.

However, he said that there was still much to be done.

“Just because we have allowed youths to vote does not mean that the journey and battle is done.

“We now have to ensure that there is voter education, as well as ensure that the education system is improved so we have better democracy and voters.

“We also have to make sure other laws are amended to ensure that there is an equal playing field for democracy,” he said.

Tharma added that Undi18 would continue to focus on voter education as well besides pushing to lower the eligibility age of Senators from 30 to 18.

Those wishing to check on their status can do so at the EC’s website at http://mysprsemak.spr.gov.my/, MySPR Semak app or call SPR hotline at 03-8892 7018 on the 16th of every month.

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