18 Year Olds Could Get To Vote Before Automatic Registration Implemented




The registration of voters aged 18 to 21 could be done sooner than the 18-24 month timeline currently proposed by the Election Commission
Electoral watchdog Bersih said these youths should be allowed to register themselves via the current mechanism of filling up forms through the EC's website or its offices, post offices, or with assistant registration officers
EC chief Azhar Harun told Malaysiakini that he is agreeable to this when the policymakers implement the constitutional amendments lowering the age of voting to 18
"They (18 to 21-year-olds) can start filling up Borang A or doing the online registration as soon as the date of enforcement is decided on

"The EC feels that because the constitutional amendments were gained via bi-partisan support, then the date of enforcement must also be agreed on in the same manner," he said when contacted
On July 16, the Dewan Rakyat, with bi-partisan support, passed a bill to amend the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age, and the age to contest in elections, to 18. The bill also allowed for automatic voter registration (AVR)
The bill was subsequently passed in the Senate and received royal assent on Sept 4. It was gazetted on Sept 10
The EC, in a statement on Sept 3, said that it might take between 18 to 24 months to implement the amendments, either together or separately
Elaborating on this, Azhar said the time needed is for the implementation of AVR - which requires a whole new system
"However, (policymakers) can decide to enforce the 18-year-old registration first, which is fine by me," he said
Earlier, Bersih, in a statement, said allowing 18-year-olds to manually register could allow them to vote in any elections before AVR is implemented
"Bersih believes that the expectation of the public, especially those who have or are turning 18 soon, is that they should be able to cast their first vote should there be a by-election in their constituency and for those living in Sarawak, to participate in the state election that is due by Aug 5, 2021," it said
Malaysiakini has contacted the government for comment
The next Parliament sitting convenes on Oct 7. - Mkini

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