KUCHING: Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has expressed his support for the Kuching High Court’s decision on Friday in ordering the federal government through the Election Commission (EC) to expedite the implementation of the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 by Dec 31 this year.
“Indeed, I agree with the High Court decision because in Parliament, we have seen that this Bill was supported more or less unanimously by all MPs when it was tabled,” said the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice-president in a video on his Facebook page on Saturday (Sept 4).
“I fully support the lowering of the voting age to 18 years but the processes and procedures need to be refined — including registration,” he said.
He added that it was up to the EC to make arrangements for the registration of those who were eligible to vote once they reached 18 years of age.
He emphasised that even if a person was of eligible voting age, he/she would still not be able to vote if he/she was not registered.
At the same time, he said it was up to the government and the EC to decide whether they wanted to make an appeal following the Kuching High Court’s decision.
“If they feel the need to appeal as to why this process is late, bring it up and let the process run,” he said, pointing out that any party in a case could not be prohibited from making an appeal if it wished to.
Abdul Karim, who is also Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister as well as Youth and Sports Minister, expressed his view that it could not be certain if the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 would result in more votes for the ruling government or the opposition.
“I know there are some who say that many will side the opposition, but we cannot be certain yet. When we conducted a youth survey index where we asked youths aged 16, 17, and 18 years, they said they were very satisfied with the existing government, especially in Sarawak,” he said.
“Depending on the parties — be they from the government or the opposition — if they feel that the votes resulting from Undi18 are a lot, then they have to go to the ground and engage with those who are eligible to vote,” he added.
He said this was because every vote was important to the ruling government as well as the opposition.