By Maryam Iman Binti Norhashimi
SHAH ALAM, 30 January 2022: The implementation of Undi18 has given a role to the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) in preparing students of higher learning institutions (IPT) to be dynamic and develop political acuity, according to a recent Bernama report.
It is important for the group to have some depth of insight and understanding of the country’s political development literature to groom them as future leaders, its minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Noraini Ahmad was reported as saying.
She also said about 452,559 individuals or 38 per cent of the 1.2 million IPT students supervised by the MOHE were voters aged between 18 and 20, following the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 to reduce the voting age as approved by the Dewan Rakyat on 16 July 2021, which resulted in automatic voter registration and eligibility to contest in election lowered to 18.
This statement was included in her speech at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and the Election Commission (EC) along with the launching of a UiTM DNA Study Formation Report Book earlier on 27 January.
The collaboration between UiTM and EC was acknowledged as a driven step by the university in commencing a Voter Education Awareness Programme as voter perception and education should be extended to other IPTs.
“UiTM is one of the largest institutions in Malaysia with an enrolment of 185,400 students nationwide of which 85,201 individuals or 46 per cent of the number are between 18 to 20 years old who will be involved in the Undi 18 implementation. This includes almost 19 per cent of the total number of students from IPTs under the MOHE,” she said.
“With the amendment of the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) in 2019 to remove Section 15 (2) (c), students should be guided in engaging in politics while on campus as a best practice before they go out to the community.
“In an interim report on a political literacy study on IPTA students conducted by MOHE last year, the findings show political literacy among students can be further improved by strengthening fundamental elements of value, namely appreciation and implementation of existing policies and acts at the various levels,” she added.
Noraini believes that with persistent efforts and cooperation students would apprehend better their rights and responsibilities as voters as this would determine the future of the country, and even prepare them as leaders for the next generation. ***