UNDI18 is presently being raised as a critical issue in the country and rightfully too. After all, one can say that age is just a number and does not necessarily reflect the level of wisdom and maturity. Image source: Pinterest
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UNDI18 Is Law Now
UNDI18 is no longer an idea but it has become an actual law. Image source: Says
Putrajaya’s bid to amend the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age to 18 years old has met resounding success with unanimous backing from the Opposition bloc and government backbenchers who attended today’s sitting.
The Bill, which also includes automatic voter registration and allowing 18 year olds to contest in elections created history today for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration as it was the first successful constitutional amendment which received support from both sides of the political divide.
It saw the Bill, which was personally tabled by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad earlier, receiving 211 amount of votes, which is more than two-thirds majority of the 222-member Dewan Rakyat.
Speaker Datuk Mohd Ariff Md Yusof said that the Bill had passed both second and third reading without hiccups.
In a gist, the law on UNDI18 now provides for:-
- Able to vote at a lower age of 18 years old
- Able to contest for elections at a lower age of 18 years old
- Automatic voter registration
The last provision under UNDI18 would reduce the number of problems with the issue of voter registration. My sister for example registered herself for the 2018 general elections but when she went to cast her votes, her name was yet to be gazetted. There were plenty of cases of new voters not able to cast their votes when it matters the most.
Implementation of UNDI18
The implementation of UNDI18 however is dragging to a point, the civil case has been raised against the Government – Image source: Malay Mail.
A symbolic 18 Malaysian youths sued the prime minister, the federal government and the Election Commission (EC) today in a bid to ensure those aged 18 to 20 can register to vote by July 2021 instead of only after September next year.
In their lawsuit filed today at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur via a judicial review application, the 18 youths are seeking 14 court orders.
This includes a declaration that the government’s action in delaying the lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 to be irrational, illegal, disproportionate and amounts to voter suppression.
The other declaration sought is for a declaration that those aged 18 to 20 have a legitimate expectation that they will have the right to vote by July 2021.
One reason that was used for the delay of UNDI18 is due to the readiness of other logistics and also delays contributed by the ongoing MCO:-
On July 16, 2019, parliament passed the “Undi 18” bill to amend the Federal Constitution and lower the voting age from 21 to 18 years old with bipartisan support.
A total of 211 members of parliament (MPs) — more than a two-third majority of the 222-member Dewan Rakyat — gave their assent, with everyone present voting yes.
Now, more than 20 months on, there is understandably an uproar after the Election Commission, citing the Movement Control Order (MCO) as the reason, said Undi18 and automatic voter registration (AVR) can only be implemented by Sept 1, 2022, instead of July this year, as mentioned in parliament last November.
Citing the MCO and lack of logistics as the reasons for the delay for UNDI18 seems acceptable although this can still be implemented fast if there is an urgent drive to get this done.
Of course, this does not stop the PAS politicians from contributing to the comedy of why it is not time to allow citizens 18 years old to have the right to vote:-
On March 26, Abdul Hadi said he supported the delay of Undi18’s implementation to September 2022, saying “voting needs maturity”.
Abdul Hadi’s Perikatan Nasional ally, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), on April 4 urged the Election Commission (EC) to speed up the implementation of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019 on lowering the voting age to 18.
PAS’s Twisted Level of Maturity
Speaking about voting maturity in UNDI18, politicians like Hadi would probably the last people to be talking about maturity. One can lose track of the times he has spoken nothing but nonsense. One example is this:-
Malaysian opposition party Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) must prioritise electing Muslim leaders – even if they have no integrity, its president Hadi Awang said on Friday (June 21).
“Integrity without Islam is not accepted by Allah, and a person with faith who has no integrity is still better than someone with integrity but no faith,” he told 3,000 party delegates and observers at the opening of the party’s annual three-day assembly.
In other words, he is saying that it is acceptable to support a Muslim who deeply corrupted, lack integrity and if allowed, will hesitate to burn down the country than a non-Muslim who thinks of the welfare of the people, have integrity and will strive for the best for the country.
Doesn’t statement defies logic and common sense?
Not content with local affairs, Hadi even commented on Joe Biden being elected as the new President of America which immediately attracted strong criticisms:-
Hadi, who is Malaysia’s special envoy to the Middle East, had said having a new president in the White House was meaningless for Muslim countries as President Joe Biden will continue with Zionist-influenced policies.
He had also said the only difference between Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump was Biden’s softer and more diplomatic approach.
Hadi’s comments were a stark contrast to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s congratulatory message to Biden where he expressed Malaysia’s desire to strengthen ties with the US.
Speaking to FMT, Marzuki said: “It’s not right, we have a foreign policy, we must be on good terms with all countries, we cannot criticise foreign democracies. Biden was chosen by Americans while the present government in Malaysia was not. A government that is not chosen by the people does not know how to respect democracy.”
Another comedy can be seen in their “matured” actions as well:-
PAS is a political party governed totally and strictly under holy Islamic principles and tenets. Yet its supreme council leaders unabashedly and brazenly display with pride their fleet of top-notched ‘kereta mewah’ (luxury cars).
Most PAS supporters, on the other hand, struggle each passing day to make ends meet, much like the metaphor ‘kias pagi makan pagi, kias petang makan petang’.
And what is more ironic is that party leader Abdul Hadi Awang went around collecting handouts from these desolates on the pretext of ‘defending race and religion’ when he was hot in pursuit against Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown in his RM90 million court case in London.
In Malaysia, one can start driving at an age of 17 years old and do many things as an aged adult would do, so what stopping them from deciding who will lead the country at 18 years old. Considering that the future of the country belongs to them; they have a stronger case to pick the right leaders who will decide the direction of this country.
In the world of sports, there are many events that are taking place globally and we have young sportsmen and sportswomen who have did wonders with their achievements. One such example is this – on 29 June 1958, Pelé became the youngest player to play in a World Cup final match. He was only 17 years old and his two goals in that final allowed Brazil to beat Sweden 5–2 and win the title.
There are young and amazing leaders who had made a huge mark in the environment that they live in. Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate at 17 years old for her humanitarian efforts. She was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan on her way to school as she was a strong advocate for women pursuing education. She was only 15 years old then. And despite the life-threatening injuries, she remained steadfast and stood her grounds.
So the excuse of lack of maturity for implementing UNDI18 does not hold water especially when aged, old politicians can act and do with sheer lack of maturity and it is done in the open. In fact, they don’t have the locus to tell others that they don’t have the maturity to vote the right people into power.