Group wants lower voting age, automatic registration in place before Sarawak state poll

Sulok Tawie
An Election Commission officer dips a voter’s finger in indelible ink at the polling station at SJK (C) Bertam Valley in Cameron Highlands January 26, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KUCHING, July 17 — A citizens group urged the federal government to ensure that the lower voting age and automatic registration of eligible voters are implemented before the Sarawak state election due in 2021.

Rise of Sarawak Efforts (ROSE) president Ann Teo predicted an increase of 820,000 registered voters once the automatic registration is implemented and the voting age dropped from 21 to 18.

“With the expected increase, the state will have about 2.04 million registered voters compared to last year’s 1.22 million,” said Teo, whose group has been involved over the years in educating and getting eligible Malaysians to register themselves as voters, if they have not done so.

She said there is a great need for the federal government to educate the youth, often viewed as politically apathetic, about their democratic rights as well as their roles as citizens and voters.

“For real enfranchisement of the young it is imperative for relevant agencies and stakeholders to deliver comprehensive voter information or education including civic and citizenship education starting from secondary school,” Teo said in a statement.

Teo also urged the federal government to look into the growth of constituency sizes that will arise out of the automatic voter registration and lowering the voting age.

She said the federal government should address the malapportionment between the urban and rural constituencies through a fresh redelineation.

Teo praised the bipartisan support in Parliament for the constitutional amendments yesterday.

Related Articles Kit Siang says Undi 18 a personal dream come true Analysts: PAS could be unlikely winner with Undi 18 After voting age win, Bersih draws Pakatan’s attention to heavily-lopsided seats