Hannah Yeoh: Youths in pro-Undi18 protest had nowhere else to go

Keertan Ayamany
·2-min read
Protesters hold placards in front of Parliament building to protest the Election Commission’s delay in allowing 18-year olds to vote in Kuala Lumpur March 27, 2021. —Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Protesters hold placards in front of Parliament building to protest the Election Commission’s delay in allowing 18-year olds to vote in Kuala Lumpur March 27, 2021. —Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh today said that the youths who gathered at Parliament to protest the Election Commission’s (EC) delay in allowing 18-year-olds to vote had nowhere else to voice their concerns regarding the postponement of Undi18.

“I hope the police will understand that these young people came in peace and dispersed in peace, wearing masks and obeyed the instruction of the police.

“...It is my opinion that consistent with the debate in Parliament in favour of Undi18, if an 18-year-old is old enough to drive or to marry, he or she should not be denied of his or her right to vote.”

she said in a statement today.

Yeoh also said that as of 7pm today she has yet to receive any calls from the police requesting to record her statement, although news reports yesterday said she would be contacted today.

“As a responsible MP, I went on my own to Parliament on Saturday to see what was happening in my constituency which has received huge coverage in the news. When I arrived, the young people were about to disperse,” she added.

Yeoh had been one of the 211 MPs who had voted in favour of the Undi18 bill, which was to lower the minimum age of voters from 21 to 18.

However, last Thursday the Election Commission decided to postpone Undi18 and the accompanying automatic voter registration initiative, citing Covid-19 for causing the delay.

This sparked outrage among many politicians and the public.

On Saturday, some 100 demonstrators marched towards Parliament House here but stopped at Padang Merbok, less than a kilometre from Parliament’s front gates, where they held a silent sitting vigil for 18 minutes as an additional gesture of protest for Undi18.

Other than Yeoh, prominent figures that participated were former education minister Maszlee Malik, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, former Batu MP Chua Tian Chang, members of electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 and non-governmental group Demokrat Nasional.

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