Over 125k Youths Will Be Disenfranchised If Sarawak Polls Held This Year
Calling the Sarawak election before lowering the voting age will be a decision that ignores the rights of the state's youths to choose their government, said electoral rights groups Undi18 and Undi Sarawak.
In a joint statement this evening, they said between 125,000 and 135,000 youth voters in the state would be disenfranchised should it happen.
"The decision to hold a state election before the implementation of Undi18 is a premature decision that ignores the voting rights of Sarawakian youth.
"On Sept 3, the Kuching High Court compelled the federal government to implement the lowering of the voting age and automatic voter registration by Dec 31. The urgency of the decision is to ensure that Sarawakian youth, especially, will be eligible to vote in the coming state election.
"Dissolving the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly this year will disenfranchise 125,000 to 135,000 Sarawakian youth voters," they said.
The groups were responding to Istana Negara's announcement earlier today, that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had assented to lifting the emergency in Sarawak.
The decision paved the way for the holding of a long-delayed state election within 60 days.
Covid-19 not over yet
Calling the state government to reconsider any plan to hold the polls within this year, Undi18 and Undi Sarawak said it is crucial as the country is also still recovering from Covid-19.
"Malaysia is at the Covid-19 recovery stage. However, the pandemic is far from over. Sarawak is still facing an average of 500 new cases daily and more than 10 fatalities daily.
"While we strongly support the democratic process, the Federal Constitution provides some temporary measures in times of emergency to put elections on hold.
"Furthermore, the Election Commission still has not come up with drastically different plans to ensure safer campaigning procedures," they added, referring to the upcoming Malacca election. - Mkini
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