UNDI18: Are young Malaysians ready to cast their vote?

By Irdina Zainudin

Malaysians, especially young Malaysians, are over the moon when the amendment to reduce the voting age from 21 to 18 years is officially legislated.

On 3 September 2021, the High Court in Kuching, Sarawak, has ordered the implementation of Undi18 to the Malaysian government and the Election Commission (EC) by the end of December.

The announcement is made after the success of five Malaysian youths; Sharifah Maheerah Syed Haizir, Ivan Alexander Ong, Tiffany Wee Ke Ying, Viviyen Desi Geoge, and Chang Swee Ern, filed a review application against the government and the EC to court, as reported by Malay Mail.

This is after the government decided to delay the Undi18 implementation from 17 July 2021 to September 2022. High Court judicial commissioner, Alexander Siew How Wai ruled it as an “illegal” and “irrational” action taken by the government and EC.

(From left) Sharifah Maheerah Syed Haizir, Ivan Alexander Ong, Tiffany Wee Ke Ying, Viviyen Desi Geoge, and Chang Swee Ern are the five Malaysian youths aged 18 to 20 who filed a lawsuit in Sarawak to challenge the government’s decision to delay implementing Undi18. —Malay Mail montage of individual photos provided by the five

This news is followed later by an announcement from the Malaysian government that those 18 years and above have and will automatically register as legitimate voters on the MySPR SPPS website.

As reported by Mashable SEA, the Minister in Prime Minister’s Department overseeing Parliament and Law, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, has stated on 21 September 2021 that the government would not appeal the order made by the Kuching High Court regarding the implementation of Undi18 and automatic voter registration.

Taken from the Library of Congress, the Bill modifies article 119(1)(a) of Malaysia’s Federal Constitution by replacing “twenty-one years” with “eighteen years” as the voting age for elections to the Dewan Rakyat and any state legislative assembly.

The government has also announced that Malaysians aged 18 years and above are registered automatically in MySPR SPPS. Either by the end of October or December 2021, Malaysians are advised to check and confirm their details.

Undi18 was originally brought up by the youths of Malaysia back in 2019, demanding the government to reduce the voting age from 21 years to 18 years.

Despite the positive feedback from most Malaysians, especially from young Malaysians who have been pushing the Undi18 matter to be implemented ever since 2019, there are still some who disagreed with the decision taken.

Yet, there are still people who argue against the legitimisation of the amendment. 

Some arguments revolved around young Malaysians being too young to vote. Hence, they are still not ready to vote for the future of government, with most of them have recently ended their secondary school years and are about to enter higher education.

Other arguments in opposition to Undi18 said young Malaysians are not mature enough to vote or can easily be influenced or taken advantage of by others in power. There are also arguments that young Malaysians are barely exposed to never been exposed regarding the general knowledge around the political situation in Malaysia, nor do they knew enough about the ongoings in Malaysia to determine whom best to vote.

However, the majority of those who supported the amendment argued that young Malaysians have enough exposure and knowledge to vote for who they think is best to lead Malaysia. These responses are also viewable via the tweets sent by many Malaysians on Twitter under the hashtags: #Undi18#Undi18now, and #ManaUndiKami.

This Bill, which was previously known as Constitution Amendment (Bill) 2019, was passed on 16 July 2019 by the Malaysian parliament with a total vote of 211 out of 222, more than the required two-thirds majority votes, which were required at that time. ***

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *