By S. Harrish
EIGHTEEN youths have filed a case against the government over the postponement in allowing those aged between 18 and 21 to vote in elections.
The Malaysian youths, representing the Undi18 movement, filed a judicial review against Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Malaysian government, and the Election Commission over the matter.
The postponement to September next year is likely to result in 1.2 million young voters being unable to vote in the 15th general election if it is called before that date.
In a media statement today, the Young Voters Association, also known as Undi18, said they were seeking a court declaration that the government’s act of delaying the amendment of the voting age is “irrational, illegal, disproportionate, and amounts to voter suppression”.
According to a Malaysiakini report, the group said they seek a declaration that 18 to 20-year-olds have a legitimate expectation that they will have the right to vote by July 2021.
They also seek to quash the government’s decision to delay the lowering of the voting age and compel the government to implement the policy by this July.
“Undi18 holds firm to our belief that youths aged 18 to 20 are owed their constitutional right to vote,” the group said.
One of the 18 youths, Elisa Shafiqah said it should not be a matter of maturity as many of her peers aged 18 to 20 already study at universities, pay taxes, and are married with children.
“We have the same responsibilities as someone who is 21 years old and above. 18-year-olds now can also run for office.
“The government has given us the trust to govern, so why can’t we exercise the basic form of democracy in our capacity, which is to vote?”