PUTRAJAYA: The youth and sports ministry has tabled a proposal to the Cabinet today to separate the implementation of the 18-year-old voting age (Undi18) and the automatic voter registration process.
Its minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the ministry hoped that the Election Commission (EC) could implement the proposal after the Cabinet had unanimously expressed its support for Undi18 to proceed.
“The amendment (to the Federal Constitution in July 2019) comprises various matters, so I think we have to start with the low hanging fruit,” he said, adding that he would submit a letter to the EC and law minister Takiyuddin Hassan on the respective proposals.
Speaking to reporters after the handing-over of assignments to the Malaysia Vaccine Support Volunteers (MyVAC) here, today, Reezal said Takiyuddin would also table the details of the issue next week.
EC chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh was reported to have said that the automatic voter registration and lowering of voting age to 18 could only be implemented after Sept 1, 2022, and the statement was questioned by many quarters who described the postponement as unreasonable.
On July 16, 2019, the Dewan Rakyat had approved the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 that seeks to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, automatic voter registration and lowering the eligible age to contest in an election to 18.
Science, technology and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin who was also present at the event said he supported Reezal’s argument in today’s Cabinet meeting on the separation of the process, as they were informed that the automatic voter registration system had yet to be completed.
“If we cannot implement automatic registration due to technical issues, why must we delay Undi18. Undi18 can proceed. That was our counter-argument and we will decide in the Cabinet (meeting) next week,” he said.
Meanwhile, the youth and sports ministry received almost 8,000 applications to become MyVAC volunteers since it was launched on Feb 26, with Selangor recording the highest number of registrations with 1,244 people, followed by Sabah (1,009), Penang (734), Perak (617) and Kedah (612).
Reezal said the number also exceeded the government’s initial target of 6,000 volunteers who would be placed in over 600 vaccination centres nationwide.
He added that the programme was driven by a whole-society approach in ensuring the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme runs smoothly.