PUTRAJAYA: A proposal to lower voting age limit from 21 years to 18 will be brought up in the next Parliament session. Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the proposal had been discussed and agreed by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas. “It has been discussed with the Attorney General and he has agreed. I believe the new voting age proposal will be finalised during Parliament’s November session or next year,” he told reporters after the 2018 Perdana Fellowship programme today. Syed Saddiq said the proposal would require two-third majority support in Dewan Rakyat to change the constitution. Article 119 (1) of the Federal Constitution guarantees that every citizen attaining 21 years of age and residing in a constituency on such qualifying date is entitled to vote in that constituency in any election to the House of Representatives or the Legislative Assembly. The country has gone through 14 general elections from GE-1 (1959) to GE-14 which was completed in May this year. In June, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had supported the proposal to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 years old. Dr Mahathir agreed to it because he was of the opinion that Malaysians nowadays were knowledgeable and those in their 18 could make wise decision about their country’s future. The move to lower the voting age limit to 18 years started after the 70s - in the United Kingdom in 1969/70; Western Europe in 1970s; United Statesin 1971; Canada and Germany 1972; Australia and France 1974, and India, Pakistan, New Zealand and countries in American Latin, Africa and Asia in the 1980s, and in Japan in 2016. Among the Asean countries, Indonesia and Timor Leste have the youngest voters at the age of 17. Except for Malaysia and Singapore, other countries have lowered voting age limit to 18.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the proposal had been discussed and agreed by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas. (NSTP/LUQMAN HAKIM ZUBIR)
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