KUCHING: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has urged the federal government to expedite the gazettement and implementation of the Undi18 amendments to allow more youths to participate in the country’s electoral process.
He expressed his disappointment over federal Youth and Sports Deputy Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal’s comments recently who said youths were not ready to vote.
“This puts the current historic Undi18 amendments in a limbo even after two years since it received unanimous support from both the government and opposition under the previous government, even in the midst of a highly partisan political climate.
“By right, a young leader like him (Wan Ahmad Fayhsal) should have been in the forefront to push for such empowerment agenda and for youths to have a bigger say in our country’s democratic process rather than playing-down the readiness and role of youths that he supposedly represents.
“If the Bill is passed, then by 2023, when the next general election is due, there will be about 3.8 million youths between the ages of 18 and 20 eligible to vote,” he said today.
Dr Yii said the most common arguments used against allowing 18-year-olds to vote was that they were not mature enough but those of the age-group were considered ‘adults’ under the Age of Majority Act 1971, assuming full legal capacity and liable for their own actions.
“In Malaysia, at 17, a person can get a driving licence, while an 18-year-old is allowed to get married, work and pay taxes, enter into contractual obligations, or even serve the country in high-risk jobs such as joining the police force, fire brigade and the army.
“If we think that 18-year-olds are mature enough to pick up arms to defend the country, it is then illogical to say that they are not mature enough to decide who runs the government.”
He also said young Malaysians were more informed with the current situation in the country, especially with the influx of information through formal and informal media.
He further urged federal Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican to give a clear assurance that the Perikatan Nasional government was still committed to Undi18.
“We need to push for a more progressive, more constructive, and more participatory politics as we welcome our youth into the arena.”