EC called to raise awareness on voting rights and responsibilities in youths

KOTA KINABALU: The Election Commission can play its role to educate young voters if 18 years old is considered an immature age to be accorded voting rights.

Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, Dr Roland Chia Ming Shen said that if 18 years old is considered an age of immaturity, the Election Commission can also work with the Education Ministry so that the young voters of the country understand their rights as voters.

“It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to educate the young voters of this country on their voting rights. The commission can even work with the Education Ministry to educate our youths concerning voting, their rights and responsibility as voters. There are many ways to impart knowledge about this,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Roland added that knowledge about voting rights and responsibilities can be inculcated through awareness.

He reminded that if youths of 18 are eligible to acquire their driving license, the same voting rights should also be accorded to them.

“If they are deemed mature enough to drive, they should also be deemed mature enough to vote,” he said.

Dr Roland also urged for the establishment of a taskforce where key members must include the Election Commission and the National Registration Department to speed up the implementation of the Undi18.

He also said that the Election Commission should proactively engage with youth bodies in the country for their input.

The bill to lower the minimum voting age in Malaysia to 18 years old under Article 47 of the Constitution Bill has been passed since 2019.

In his statement, Dr Roland also echoed the call of Federal Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamarudin to ask for a review of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

He said that this was connected to the arrest of protesters which included Members of Parliament (MPs) and civil society activists taking part in the Undi18 rally a few weeks ago.

He called on the police to be ‘accommodative’ to peaceful assemblies but stressed that those partaking in the rally must strictly observe the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) set to stamp out the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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