EC urged to explain Undi 18 delay

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KUCHING: The Election Commission (EC) was urged to explain the delay behind the implementation of the automatic voter registration and lowering of voting age to 18.

Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the Bill for Undi18 was passed in the Federal Parliament and the state government has gazetted its laws to accommodate the change.

“Federal parliament had passed (the constitutional amendment BIll), and Sarawak government had also gazetted our laws in allowing 18 year-olds to vote and be voted in elections. But now the EC says preparation isn’t ready yet. 

“While we’re not experts in data management or integration, perhaps the EC should explain a bit clearer (on the delay),” he said in a Facebook post today.

The Local Government and Housing Minister said regardless, his party and the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will continue to fight for the youths.

“SUPP and GPS will continue to advance the welfare and aspirations of all races, all age groups in Sarawak,” he said.

On Thursday, EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh said the much-anticipated automatic voter registration (AVR) and lowering of the voting age to 18 can only be realised by Sept 1, 2022, at the earliest.

“We are committed to the implementation of these initiatives that were passed by Parliament for the 15th general election, guided by Article 55(3) of the Federal Constitution,” Abdul Ghani said.

Last November, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, said the two initiatives are expected to be implemented this July.

He said the EC will be preparing an interim report on Undi18 and the AVR, which will be ready in September.

Based on the EC’s latest record, there are 5.6 million citizens aged 18 years and above. Of this figure, those aged between 18 and 20 make up 1.2 million individuals.

Elsewhere, there are 4.4 million people who are at least 21 years’ old who are eligible to vote, but have not registered.

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