Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad addresses the media at the Parliament. With him is his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (right), Water, Land and Natural Resources minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar (left) and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (2nd-left). - NSTP/Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali

KUAL LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed his happiness that history was created when the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 to lower the voting age to 18 was approved in the Dewan Rakyat.

He said the fact that all 211 members of parliament who were present voted for the amendment was historic as such a thing had never happened before.

“It is indeed a historic day for Malaysia. It has never happened before. I am so used to Parliament, but this was the first time an amendment was approved with full support from all the MPs, with not even one of them opposed to it.

“This is a new era, when the opposition is also able to see the good in a move taken by the government,” he told reporters in the lobby of Parliament.

Dr Mahathir said the government thanked the opposition for fulfilling their promise to support the amendment.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the amendment was a recognition to 18-year-olds.

“This shows that we believe that they will be able to decide for the country through the ballot paper, as well as to lead the country as candidates.”

However, Ismail Sabri said he hoped the matter would be implemented well.

“In terms of policy, particularly in schools, we must be clear. Will Form 6 students be allowed to take part in politics at school? In university, students are allowed to do so. So there must be details on this.”

Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said it was crucial to allow 18-year-olds to give their views not only on social media, but on the ballot paper and also as candidates.

He said at the age of 18, they were able to decide which party they would support.

“Many countries have (already) allowed 18-year-olds to vote.”