KUALA LUMPUR: History was made today when government and opposition MPs voted in unison to give 18–year–olds the right to decide the political direction of the nation.
The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019, which sought to reduce the voting age from 21 currently to 18, was given the nod by all lawmakers who were present.
Amendments to Article 119(1)(a) to reduce the minimum age at which a person could vie for political office to 18 and and Article 47 for automatic registration as a voter on reaching the age of 18 were also passed.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said all 211 MPs who were present had voted for the amendment. “Therefore, it has received the minimum two–thirds majority,” he said.
The Bill would not have passed without the support of the Opposition. Pakatan Harapan has only 139 MPs, nine short of the 148 needed for a two–thirds majority.
To win their support, the government agreed to include the two provisions on lowering the age to contest in elections and for automatic registration of voters.
In his winding up speech at the end of the debate, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it was vital for all MPs to put aside political affiliations and vote for the amendment as it involved the prosperity and future of the nation.