Admitting Undi18 boost for Perikatan, Syed Saddiq says reforms necessary even if painful

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — Critical reforms must be undertaken even when they will not benefit the ruling party or even put it at a disadvantage, said Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman.

The former minister said this when defending initiatives such as Undi18, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 and contributed to Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) unexpected performance in the 15th general election,

“When I fought for the Undi18, my friends said, ‘Look at what you have done, Undi18 have voted for the other side (PN)’. This is the problem when people look at reform from one political party’s perspective.

“It never crossed my mind that fighting for reform is actually to help party A, party B, or party C. If the reform serves us, we are happy. But when we lose, we close (the door) on reform,” he said in Parliament today.

The former youth and sports minister also said young voters should not be vilified simply for exercising their constitutional right to vote.

Syed Saddiq said Undi18 and other reforms were necessary in order to give Malaysia a truly fair democracy and suppress the toxic politics that have plagued the country in recent times.

“I am confident if this can be done, the tension in this Parliament will subside. Toxicity in Malaysian politics can be reduced,” he added.

In 2019, Parliament unanimously agreed to amend the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 years’ old, and simultaneously introduced automatic voter registration.

Both amendments came into effect in 2021, adding around 5.6 million voters to the electoral roll.