Mixed reactions to voting at 18

MIRI: Is lowering the voting age a radical move in order to gain bigger turnout during polls or to give teens the responsibility?

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had reportedly held a closed-door meeting with parliamentary heads of Umno, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) yesterday to get their support for the government’s bid in lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.

The move received various reactions from members of the public here.

Caroline Siburat

“I do not agree as at 18 people are still not matured and exposed enough to what’s going on politically, economically and socially,” said Caroline Siburat.

She feels automatic registration should apply for those who reach 21.

Unlike Caroline, Sofina Tan in her 40s, supports the proposal, saying, “At the age of 18, they should be mature enough to think of their political future.”

She feels most people at 18 would have learned a lot about history, economy and national issues in schools.

Sofina Tan

“Today’s teens are technology savvy, information is at their fingertips and I believe that they are fully aware of their responsibility as Malaysians,” she said.

Sharing Sofina’s view is former councillor cum PBB Piasau chairman Sardon Zainal.

Sardon Zainal

“I support the automatic registration of age 18 as voters…Of course there are disadvantages for students studying in universities…they might skip voting due to unavailability of funding to pay for their flight tickets home,” he said.

He feels the advantage will be for the urban voters only.

“The rural area will be a disadvantage and later may result in poor turn-out,” he added.