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The group behind the Undi18 movement plans to take the government to court for postponing the lowering of the voting age until September 2022.
The postponement is likely to result in 1.2 million 18- to 20-year-olds unable to vote in the 15th general election if it is called this year.
This is despite the fact that constitutional amendments for it were gazetted into law in 2019.
In a statement today, the Young Voters Association, known as the Undi18 group, said the Election Commission’s (EC) move to delay implementing the change “discriminated” against young Malaysians.
“It has been close to two years since the legislation was passed by Parliament.
“There should be no reason for the government to further delay the implementation of lowering the voting age,” it said.
The group announced that it will file “legal action” against Putrajaya next Friday (April 2).
“Undi18 will hold the government accountable for their promise. Hence, we are facilitating a legal action against the government to compel the EC to allow 18- to 20-year-olds to register as voters,” it added.Undi 18 co-founder Qyira Yusri
When contacted, Undi18 co-founder Qyira Yusri confirmed that they will be filing for judicial review.
“It’s a judicial review over the government’s failure to bring (Undi18) into force,” she said.
The Undi18 group will be represented by lawyer New Sin Yew.
Let youths register to vote manually
Back in 2019, the Dewan Rakyat unanimously voted to amend the Federal Constitution to lower the voting and election candidacy age to 18, plus implement automatic voter registration (AVR).
The EC said yesterday that the movement control order had “affected” its planning and preparation for both lowering the voting age and implementing the AVR system.
The Undi18 group opined that this reasoning was “untenable” as youths should be allowed to register manually.
“The EC's excuse that there are delays with the implementation of the AVR is untenable as 18- to 20-year-olds should be given the right to vote and have themselves registered as voters the conventional way,” it said.
The EC is parked under the Prime Minister’s Department.
The government has come under intense criticism from both sides of the political divide over the delay and a protest has been planned for Saturday.
Additional reporting by ANNABELLE LEE.