KUCHING: When youth between the ages of 18 and 20 are old enough to marry, they can also vote for or against a five-year government, said Lina Soo.
The Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president was referring to the Kuching High Court’s recent order to the federal government to implement Undi18 amendments by Dec 31 this year in favour of five Sarawakian youth who challenged the former government under PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to expedite lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.
“On the impending Sarawak election (PRN12) which is expected to be held next year, the implementation of Undi18 amendments by Dec 31 will mean Sarawakians aged 18 to 20 will be the first in the country to benefit from the timely execution of the law.
“This new layer of voters has the legitimacy to exercise their right to participate in the democratic process and no government should deny them their votes.
“A citizen is never too young to take an interest in the affairs of the state and being better informed and better read the youth of today are politically mature, and they understand the voting process,” she said in a statement on Saturday (Sept 4).
She pointed out that this is the first litmus test for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. How he presides over this challenge will set the barometer for his administration into the next general election.
“Whether his (PM) administration will respect the aspiration of youth to participate in the voting process and to hold to the ruling of the High Court or to mount an appeal against the court’s decision has yet to be seen.
“The follow-up action by the government either to expedite the Undi18 amendments as ordered or to file an appeal which may then render the case a purely academic exercise will indicate the government’s response to this formative section of the population,” she said.
Soo further urged the prime minister to rise to the occasion and recognise the aspiration of the youth by setting in process the implementation of the amendments before the end of the year which would, in turn, form part of his achievements in the 100-days challenge which he had set for his ministers.
On Friday (Sept 3), Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew ruled that the decision by the government and the Election Commission (EC) to delay implementing Undi18 to 2022 from its promised date was ‘irrational’, ‘illegal’ and ‘went against the duty of the government to act at all “convenient speed”.
The court also granted an order to quash the federal government’s decision to implement the Undi18 amendments by September 2022.