KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — DAP’s Lim Guan Eng accused Perikatan Nasional (PN) today of not implementing the lowered voting age of 18 this year because it has not addressed disproportionate youth unemployment.
The Bagan MP claimed PN postponed the initiative commonly called Undi18 until next September so it would not have to face the 18- to 20-year-old voters in an early general election.
“The failure to create jobs, especially for youths, must have demotivated the government to implement Undi18 by the promised date of July 2021 and allowed the Election Commission to defer it to after September 2022.
“By that time, those between 18 to 20 will not be able to vote and thus unable to pressure the government to seriously commit to creating more jobs. This is probably what the PN government does not wish to see and allow the delay of Undi18,” Lim wrote in a statement today.
Parliament voted unanimously to amend the Federal Constitution and lower the legal voting age from 21 to 18 in November 2019.
However, the law initially due to be implemented in July this year has yet to be gazetted by the government, with the Election Commission recently saying it might be implementable earliest in September 2022.
Today, the DAPsecretary-general also accused Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz of spreading propaganda when the latter claimed that Malaysia’s unemployment rate of 4.8 per cent is better than neighbouring countries, and did so without highlighting the 13.9 per cent unemployment rate among youths.
“This is subjective and an exercise in political tautology. Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam have lower unemployment rates than Malaysia.
“And stating that the unemployment rate is worse in other countries is cold comfort to the unemployed and does not help those who have reduced or no sources of income,” Lim wrote in a statement today.
Lim then suggested the government take on more debt to create more job opportunities, lamenting the PN's decision to abandon the Malaysia@Work program announced under the Pakatan Harapan government.
He said the Malaysia@Work initiative would have offered out-of-work employees with a RM500 monthly payout, and RM300 subsidy to employees as incentive to hire over the course of two years.
“Unfortunately, PN refuses to spend the RM13 billion needed to create the 650,000 jobs, which would help to resolve the youth unemployment of 13.9 per cent for those between 15 and 24, coming up to 347,600 unemployed youths,” he said.
Lim also condemned Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan and Economics Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad for urging youths to accept and be grateful for jobs paying below the RM1,200 minimum wage bracket.
“Defending monthly pay below the minimum wage is not only illegal but also a betrayal of workers’ rights,” he added.
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