Blame the ministries not EC for Undi18 delay, says former deputy chief

Ashman Adam
·2-min read
Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Wan says the delay of almost three years since its passing in Parliament may be blamed on the coordination between the ministries involved in putting the law together. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Wan says the delay of almost three years since its passing in Parliament may be blamed on the coordination between the ministries involved in putting the law together. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 ― The Election Commission (EC) cannot be blamed for the delay in implementation of Undi18 and its accompanying automatic voter registration (AVR), its former deputy chairman Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said.

In an interview with Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, he said the delay of almost three years since its passing in Parliament may be blamed on the coordination between the ministries involved in putting the law together.

He said that this includes ensuring the provision of online registration facilities and infrastructure can be completed safely and securely as it involves various other government agencies to integrate the relevant data.

Ahmad added that this is an important step in ensuring the security and integrity of the system, and that it is not a simple task to achieve.

“The online registration system needs not just the National Registration Department for it to be ready, it needs the assistance of several other government agencies like Malaysia Department of Insolvency, the courts, prisons, police, Defence Ministry, Health Ministry and so on.

“This is to ensure that the names of Malaysians who are lawfully unable or not allowed to vote be removed from the list of names entering the registry in line with Article 44 of the Federal Constitution, Elections Regulations 2002 and the Elections Act 1958,” he said.

Despite that, Wan Ahmad’s remark mostly centered on the AVR part rather than allowing 18-year-olds to vote and contest which critics say can already be implemented.

Two days ago, the EC announced that it has decided to postpone Undi18 and the accompanying automatic voter registration, citing Covid-19 for causing delays to its implementation.

The EC said it needed to evaluate new obstacles and persisting issues as well as account for the various movement control orders (MCO) that are in place.

Political parties and youth activists will host a rally protesting the decision in front of the Parliament this afternoon.

Federal lawmakers crossed the political aisle and voted unanimously to amend the Federal Constitution in July 2019 and lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18.

Undi18 can only take effect once it has been gazetted, which was scheduled for the second half of this year.

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