PETALING JAYA: History will be made in the 15th General Election (GE15), with more than a million Malaysians aged between 18 and 20 entitled to mark “X” on the ballot paper for the first time.
How did all this come about?
As part of its election manifesto for the 14th General Election (GE14) in 2018, Pakatan Harapan spoke about lowering the minimum voting age from 21 to 18.
It led to the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 being tabled for this purpose at the Dewan Rakyat on July 4, 2019.
However, the Bill was later retracted to include additional terms.
It was re-tabled by then Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman on July 11, 2019.
The revised Bill included automatic registration of voters and lowering the age of candidacy to 18.
Subsequently, on July 19, 2019, the Bill passed with 211 votes, which is more than the two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution.
This was a historic moment for the Dewan Rakyat.
The Bill was later passed by the Dewan Negara on July 25, 2019. It was gazetted as law on Sept 10 of that year.
In March 2021, the Election Commission said Undi18 and the automatic registration of voters could only be implemented by September the following year, despite the initial timeline of July 2021.
This led to five youths, representing Undi Sarawak, filing a lawsuit seeking the immediate enforcement of the constitutional amendment made in 2019.
On Sept 3, 2021, the Kuching High Court ordered the Federal Government to implement the lowering of the voting age by Dec 31 at the latest.
In March this year, Undi18 was implemented for the first time during the Johor state election.