Johor Pakatan lawmakers call on state govt to fast-track Undi18 amendments

Johor Pakatan lawmakers call on state govt to fast-track Undi18 amendments

Pakatan Harapan’s Skudai assemblyman Tan Hong Pin (left) and its Paloh counterpart Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali pose outside the Johor state assembly hall in Kota Iskandar, Iskandar Puteri November 21, 2021. — Picture courtesy of Tan Hong Pin

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ISKANDAR PUTERI, Nov 25 — Two Johor Pakatan Harapan (PH) lawmakers today urged the state government to expedite the legislative amendments related to the lowering of the voting age to 18.

In a joint statement, the two assemblymen said the amendments related to Undi18 at the federal level involved three elements.

“The first being automatic voter registration for those aged 18 and above.

“Second, to allow the age limit for voters to start from 18 years and above, and lastly, allowing the same age limit to qualify as an election candidate,” read the statement issued here by the Paloh assemblyman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali and his Skudai counterpart Tan Hong Pin in Kota Iskandar here today.

Earlier, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told the Dewan Rakyat that the government has given its assurance that Undi18 and automatic voter registration will be implemented before December 31.

On Johor’s implementation, the two DAP representatives noted that the third element related to the age limit of an election candidate as young as 18 years would require an amendment to Clause 16 of the Johor State Constitution through the highest state legislature, which is the Johor State Assembly.

“Therefore, we hope that this matter receives the attention to avoid conflict between the state government and the amendment of the Federal Constitution,” read the statement.

Yesterday, Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Muhammad told the state assembly that if the federal government is ready to implement Undi18, then Johor will accept the resolution and do the same.

Also yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that all mentri besar and chief ministers had agreed to amend their state constitutions to allow individuals aged 18 and above to become candidates in a general election, state election or by-election.

The matter was decided at the 137th Mentri Besar and Chief Ministers’ Meeting (MBKM).

In 2019, Parliament passed a Bill to lower the age of a citizen eligible to vote from 21 to 18 years of age, along with automatic voter registration once they reach the age of 18. This amendment is known as Undi18.

The Kuching High Court had on September 3 also ordered for the lowering of voting age from 21 to 18 and automatic voter registration to be implemented latest by December 31.

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