Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob says they support the motion by the government to lower the voting age to 18 years old. - NSTP/file pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The opposition today told the government that they would support the bill to lower the voting age, but only if youths are automatically registered as voters when they turn 18.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said they lauded the government's move, but the sheer number of eligible voters who had not registered with the Election Commission necessitated an automatic registration system.

He said there were currently about 14 million eligible voters in the country who have yet to register as voters due to several factors, such as logistics.

“We support the motion by the government to lower the voting age to 18 years old. But, we will not support if it (voter registration) is not done automatically. Everyone has the right to vote and we should not deter them from doing so,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

At the same time, said Ismail, the age of candidates contesting in elections should also be lowered to 18.

He said the opposition bloc would raise the matter in the Dewan Rakyat soon.

“It will be our personal motion. The suggestion has been raised in a meeting with the relevant ministers,” he said.

Ismail (BN-Bera) was joined by representatives of Pas and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) at the press conference.

The bill to amend the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 is expected to be tabled for first reading tomorrow.