KOTA BARU: The lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 years has certainly hit the “sweet spot”.
The Malaysia Association Youth Council (MAYC) in welcoming the move, said it clearly shows the government’s confidence in youths to be equally involved in the development of the country.
Mohd Syahbudin Hashim said the approach taken by the government is "right and appropriate" based the current developments.
“This change will give an opportunity to youths to be responsible voters, but we hope this group gets more exposure to understand the nationhood concept and their role towards the nation.
“We hope this opportunity will be fully utilised by the youths as this group will make up the biggest chunk of voters in the 15th General Election,” he said.
Syahbudin adds that he was confident that 18-year-olds were old enough to make proper assessments in determining the direction of the country.
Malaysian Malay Civilisation Organisation of Kelantan (Peradaban) president, Datuk A Aziz Deraman said the new legislative changes would need to be met with due diligence.
“The government needs to take immediate steps including a campaign to understand the concept of nationality and accountability to the country.
“This is to ensure that 18-year-old youths realise and truly understand that they have a great responsibility towards the nation-building because of the future depends on them,” he explained.
Mohd Hilmie Harif, 17, a vocational college student in Bachok, Kelantan, said age was not a barrier for the younger generation to understand the political scenario due to technological advances.
“For me at 18 years, young people are matured enough to vote because of technological advances without borders, which have exposed the generation to the global political sphere.
“Furthermore, many countries in the world have adopted it (18 voting age) and it is time for Malaysia in the new government administration to take that stand as we are approaching 2020,’ he told Bernama when contacted here today.
He, however, said the government through the Education Ministry needs to improve the existing syllabus on nationhood so that the youths will understand better the concept.
On July 16, the Dewan Rakyat created history by passing an amendment to the Federal Constitution to allow youths in the country to vote at the age of 18. The bill also seeks to lower, also from 21 to 18, the eligible age to contest the election and serve as MPs and state assemblymen, as well as automatic registration as votes
All the 211 MPs present in the house voted for the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 that seeks to lower the voting age to 18.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when presenting the bill, said the government expects some 7.8 million new voters in the electoral roll by 2023. -- Bernama