KUALA LUMPUR: The move to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 will give young people the opportunity to determine the future of the country, says Malaysian Youth Council (MBM) president Jufitri Joha (pix).
He said it was also in line with democratic practices in other countries that had set the voting age at 18.
“The right to vote should be given to those aged 18 and the move recognises their roles for the country.
“MBM fully supports efforts by the government to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 because it is the right time for young people in the country to be given the rights similar to other Malaysians,” he told Bernama.
Jufitri was commenting on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019, aimed at lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, that went through the first reading at the Dewan Rakyat on July 4th.
The bill, tabled Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, seeks to amend Article 119 (1) (a) of the Federal Constitution that would enable more Malaysians to vote through an election and select the government in line with the progressive democratic system.
Jufitri said only nine countries in the world still retained their voting age at 21 while the majority had lowered the voting age to 16 and 18.
“It is desirable that Malaysia as a mature nation takes the step to lower the voting age in line with the practices of other countries.
Jufitri said MBM has begun to implement steps to create MBM political classes to give youths the exposure to democratic system, especially those who were members in youth associations.
Meanwhile, Youth MP for 2019-2021 session’s candidate Anwar Ridhwan Muhammad Azhari, 23, said the government should prepare the younger generation by providing democracy classes early while they were in school so that it could be strengthened when they enrolled at the higher learning Institutions.
“Personally I support efforts to lower the voting age to 18. But we need to look at it thoroughly so that the youths are more acquainted with the democratic system and the political situation of the country,” he said.
Former Youth MP Muhamad Farid Kamaruddin, 31, he believed that the move to lower the voting age to 18 was an appropriate step and it would be more relevant if it comes with automatic registration of voters.
“I think the political landscape in Malaysia is ready for this move,” he said. — Bernama