Amend state constitutions to allow 18-year-olds to stand for elections

THE Undi18 bill, otherwise known as the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019 had been passed unanimously in July 2019. It consists of three parts, including Section 3(a), which refers to the lowering of the minimum age for voters in federal and state elections from 21 years old to 18 years old. Then there’s Section 3(b), which refers to automatic voter registration for Malaysians (AVR) and Section 4, which refers to the lowering of age of requirement to be a member of the State Legislative Assembly from 21 years old to 18 years old. The amendment of the Federal Constitution for Section 4 warrants the state constitutions to adhere to it, as it is the supreme law of our land.

UNDI18 commends the state governments of Perlis, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak and most recently, Penang, for honouring the spirit of the Federal Constitution as demonstrated by the amendment of their respective state constitutions to lower the minimum age for member of the state legislative assembly as required under Section 4.

We call upon the state governments of Kedah, Pahang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor to do the same and commit to amending their respective state constitutions (Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri) to allow 18- to 20-year-olds to stand for elections in the state legislative assembly.

UNDI18 will be reaching out to these state governments to work together towards the implementation of Calon18 and the empowerment of young Malaysians to obtain their constitutional right to stand for elections.

We believe that the lowering of the minimum age to be a member of the state legislative assembly signals a strong message that state governments are encouraging youths to be more actively involved in representing their communities. – September 13, 2021.

*Persatuan Pengundi Muda (UNDI18) is a Malaysian youth movement promoting voter education and youth public policy engagement.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.

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  • Venturing into politics at such a young age might not necessarily be a good idea. Admittedly, there are the exceptionally mature ones who are able to represent their communities, yet the vast majority of Malaysian youths display the absence of such maturity; additionally, the lack of knowledge will benefit them poorly in the field, making them susceptible to the many unhelpful and unhealthy influences that already plague the field. Instead, youths should take time to learn, think, grow, and only when they have gathered somewhat of an understanding of the world, participate.

    Posted 1 month ago by Jason Varughese · Reply