RECENTLY, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan announced that the government has given an assurance that Undi18 (lowering of Malaysians’ voting age to 18) would be implemented this year.
This assurance came following reports that the Election Commission (EC) had wanted to postpone the process to next year.
As someone who recently turned 20, I’d say that my peers and I are elated over the news! Why so? Because our cohort is a misunderstood group. Now that we can make our voices heard at the ballot box, I believe the government and aspiring policy-makers can start to take us more seriously.
For example, when news emerged that the #Undi18 amendment to Article 119 of the Federal Constitution, which received bipartisan support and was passed in Parliament in 2019, would be postponed to next year, critics accused the government of being fearful of the youth.
Painting us with a broad brush does not do justice to us. We are among Malaysia’s first generation who grew up with the Internet at our disposal and plugged in to a global village.
We have world views unlike our forefathers. The “seniors” may find some of us to be socially awkward. Some have even
labelled us as the “marshmallow generation” purportedly because we are less “resilient”.
But these seniors are just looking at things from outdated biases.
We are unique in our own way and going through a transformation unlike any our seniors have seen. There are a host of issues that lawmakers will now have to consider from the points of view of what I would call the “#Undi18 Generation”. These are issues that were not as pervasive even five to 10 years ago.
For example, as someone who’s on the verge of graduating from a local university, I am worried about housing affordability. Lawmakers will now have to seek out solutions to such woes that were never so pressing before.
Another issue that hit home for the “Gen #Undi18” is Internet connectivity. Members of Parliament and state assembly representatives, many of whom still exist in the analogue era, would have to familiarise themselves with these issues and confront them head on.
The voice of the young in Malaysia is set to get louder with #Undi18. Far from fearing that the young would dilute the voice of older voters, #Undi18 should be seen as a transformative move to leapfrog Malaysia into the next phase of its growth.
For that and from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all MPs and the government who made #Undi18 a reality! It is for the betterment of the country, really.
CK LIM , Seri Kembangan, Selangor