PUTRAJAYA: The Cabinet today agreed to lower the voting age limit from 21 to 18 years old.
This will be applied from the 15th general election (GE15) onwards.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said several amendments to the Federal Constitution were expected to be made to ensure the country’s polling system is more transparent and fair.
He said a motion on the matter would be tabled in Parliament for approval before it could be implemented.
“We need a two-third majority in Parliament to make the change in the voting age limit,” he told reporters after the cabinet meeting today.
Last July, Syed Saddiq had met Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and the Election Commission to deliberate on changes to be made in the laws to lower the voting age limit to 18 and both parties had agreed.
Syed Saddiq said he would meet youth leaders of every party that had representative in Parliament to discuss the motion as well as the agenda involving the youths’ future.
The minister said he would focus on two things related to youths. The first thing would be on forming a young parliamentarian group comprising representatives from every party to get their feedback on the motion.
Secondly, Syed Saddiq said, he would discuss it with all opposition youth chiefs as well as form a committee to deliberate on lowering the voting age, including the future direction of youths.
“The youths (in general) have been proposing this (lowering the voting age) for quite a while and they will surely be happy with the good news after waiting for it for a long time.
“I believe in GE15, youths who are 18 years old will exercise their rights as voters,” he added.
According to www.worldatlas.com , there are over 100 nations with 18 year old minimum voting age. Among them are Afghanistan, China, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Comoros, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Lebanon, Marshall Islands, Macedonia, Mauritania, Kenya, Mongolia, Philippines, Saint Helena, Tanzania, United States, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Japan, and Italy.