Young people should be empowered with the responsibility to vote. - NSTP/file pic

I AM writing in response to the letter “Not in favour of decision to lower voting age” by Syafina Suhaimi (NST, April 24).

I disagree with the argument that the immaturity of youth is the factor that prevents them from making a rational decision for our country.

We have good reason to believe that now is the right time for electoral reforms and the cabinet’s decision to lower the voting age to 18 is a justifiable one.

It has been 48 years since the passing of the Age of Majority Act in 1971. In the past when information was not easily available, youths might have lacked the ability to make the right judgment when deciding the fate of our nation.

But thanks to the advancement of education and technology, young people now are more educated, knowledgeable and well-informed of current affairs.

According to a National Library survey in 2017, our literacy rate stood at 95 per cent, with most of our students having received mandatory civic education that provided them with sufficient knowledge about civic obligations, such as citizen’s responsibilities and their right to vote in the general election.

Hence, I believe that they are politically mature in delivering a better verdict as to who they want to run the country.

More importantly, if young people are allowed to drive, eligible to pay taxes when they enter the workplace or open a bank account independently all at the age of 18, why can’t they be given the right to vote in elections? They have assumed almost all the responsibilities that an ordinary adult would. After all, our Constitution has set 18 as the legal age of adulthood, so why can’t they be trusted with the power to vote in any election?

Young people are the leaders of tomorrow. For a nation with a greater percentage of young citizens, they should be empowered to decide the course of the nation. It is their aspirations that will steer the direction of this nation.

Lowering the voting age to 18 is not a matter of political maturity but rather a matter of principle and a necessity for the democratic future of Malaysia.

It is entirely fair to lower the voting age to 18 and the government should be steadfast in implementing it without any delay.

I wholeheartedly support the government’s decision to lower the voting age as it is a step in the right direction.

After all, it is an important part of Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto and it is the new government’s duty to fulfil its promises before the next general election.

TAN CHEE YONG

Kajang, Selangor

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