By Emma Victoria
FIVE Sarawakian youths, representing the Undi Sarawak campaign have filed a judicial review against the Prime Minister, Government of Malaysia, and the Election Commission in Kuching High Court yesterday.
The applicants are seeking declarations that the Government’s action in delaying the implementation of lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 is irrational, illegal, disproportionate and amounts to voter suppression.
In a statement today, Undi Sarawak said the applicants are also seeking to quash the Government’s decision to delay the implementation of lowering the voting age 21 to 18.
“Such delay will affect approximately 125,000 to 135,000 Sarawakian youths as the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly has passed a bill lowering the minimum standing age from 21 to 18 in December last year.”
“Hence, we are also seeking to compel the named parties to immediately bring into operation Section 3(a) of the Constitutional (Amendment) Act 2019 or, in any event, on or before July 2021.”
Meanwhile, Simon Siah from Lawyer Kamek for Change (LK4C) said Malaysians aged between 18 to 20 years old have legitimate expectations when bi-partisan votes were cast in favour of lowering the age of voting to 18 years old in July 2019.
“The youths were given the impression over the past two years that they will be eligible to be registered as voters and to vote come this July 2021. More so here in Sarawak where there is greater anticipation and urgency since our state election will be called by Aug 7 or immediately when the emergency is lifted.”
However, he said, all of a sudden the Election Commission put a spanner in the works and the timeline is moved to September next year.
“This is unacceptable and we believe that the EC is acting against the rights of these young voters who have a say in how the State is to move forward in the coming five years.”