KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today claimed that the delay in lowering the voting age to 18 in Malaysia is a deliberate move by the government to stop the country’s youth from having their say in the next general election.
He said it was inconceivable that in the age of big data, the government did not have the time to make this a reality after it was unanimously passed by Parliament in July 2019.
“In the first place, there is ample time to do everything, especially now, when everything is recorded and you can access records at any time, so you know where the people are, their IC and name. There should not be a delay.
“If there is a delay, then it is deliberate. They are trying to stop young people from taking part in the election and that is unfair.
Dr Mahathir made a surprise appearance at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters today, which coincided with the presence of several Opposition lawmakers who have been called up for their involvement in last Saturday’s Undi18 rally.
Dr Mahathir also expressed his support for them, saying they had done nothing wrong and were merely exercising their democratic rights.
“I don’t know what is there to investigate. We are just exercising our right, especially now, when Parliament is not sitting.
“People cannot complain through Parliament; therefore, they must find another way to channel their views to the government,” he said.
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and former Bersih 2.0 chairperson and Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan were called up today for their involvement in the Undi18 protest at the gates of Parliament last Saturday.
The Dr Mahathir-led Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, along with the Opposition, unanimously voted to implement Undi18 in 2019, and the Constitution was amended that same year. According to the EC, there are about 1.2 million youth aged 18 to 20 in Malaysia.
In November 2020, following the collapse of PH and Dr Mahathir’s ouster, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan promised that Undi18 would be implemented by July this year.
But the EC, in an announcement in February, said this would be pushed back to September 1, 2022, citing the movement control order (MCO) as the reason for the delay.
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