KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 (Bernama) — The automatic registration of 18-year-old citizens following the Amendment of the Federal Constitution will also cover 21-year-old youths who have not registered as voters.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the matter would be given priority by the El;ection Commission (EC) in the implementation of automatic registration of voters.
He was responding to Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera) who requested confirmation from the government that 3.9 million Malaysians aged 21 years and eligible to vote, but had not been registered as voters would be registered automatically after the amendments were approved.
“We are aware that among those who had attained the voting age (21 years) but had not registered previously, would also be registered automatically,” said Dr Mahathir when winding up the debate on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 at the Dewan Rakyat, today.
Besides reducing the age of nationals who are eligible to vote from 21 to 18 years, the amendment also proposed the reduction in the age of nationals eligible to be Members of Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies to 18 years and that they too be registered automatically by the EC as voters.
Besides lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, the bill also seeks to lower, also from 21 to 18, the eligible age to contest elections and serve as MPs and state assemblymen, as well as automatic registration as voters.
Earlier, when tabling the bill, Dr Mahathir said several amendments have to be made to the Election Offences Act 1954; Elections (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 and Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002 to implement and enforce the amendment.
Furthermore, to enable the lowering of the age limit for state election candidates, the state governments have to make amendments to the relevant provision in the respective state constitutions, he said.
Dr Mahathir said the government welcomed the proposal of the opposition bloc that youths aged 18 not only be allowed to vote but also be permitted to contest the elections. He also welcomed the commitment of the opposition bloc to support the amendment.
The government expects some 7.8 million new voters to be entered into the electoral rolls by 2023, raising by more than 50 per cent to 22.7 million the total number of voters that year, up from the 14.9 million at the 14th General Election last year. — BERNAMA