Undi18: Kuching High Court orders Federal Govt to implement lowering of voting age by Dec 31

KUCHING: The High Court here has ordered the Federal Government to implement the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 by Dec 31 at the latest.

Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew made the order on Friday (Sept 3) when allowing a judicial review by five Sarawakian youths seeking to compel the implementation of the lower voting age.

The youths represent the Undi Sarawak movement and named the Prime Minister, Malaysian government and Election Commission (EC) as respondents in their May 3 application.

In his ruling, Siew held that the respondents had not acted with all convenient speed to implement the lowering of the voting age.

He said the delay in the implementation from the initial schedule of July this year to September next year was unexplained, irrational and unreasonable.

As such, Siew granted an order to quash the respondents’ decision to delay the implementation of Undi18 beyond July.

He also granted an order of mandamus compelling the government and EC to take all necessary steps for Undi18 to come into operation as soon as possible, and in any event, by Dec 31 this year.

Applicants Ivan Alexander Ong, Viviyen Desi George, Tiffany Wee Ke Ying, Chang Swee Ern and Sharifah Maheerah Syed Haizir, all aged from 18 to 19, had sought declarations that the delay in lowering the voting age was irrational and unreasonable and that youths aged 18 to 20 had a legitimate expectation of having the right to vote in the next election.

Parliament had passed a constitutional amendment in July 2019 to lower the minimum voting age to 18 and to allow automatic voter registration.

But in March this year, the EC said this could only be implemented by September next year.

The applicants were represented by counsel Simon Siah and Clarice Chan and the respondents by counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, Azizan Md Arshad and Jessica Lee.

Welcoming the ruling, the applicants said it was significant for Malaysian youths to exercise their constitutional right as citizens.

In particular, they said it would allow 125,000 to 135,000 Sarawakian youths to vote in the next state election, which is due after the localised Emergency in Sarawak is lifted on Feb 2 next year.


Source: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/09/03/undi18-federal-govt-ordered-to-implement-lowering-of-voting-age-by-dec-31

By SHARON LING – Friday, 03 Sep 2021 5:41 PM MYT

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