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COMMENT | The future of the youth in Malaysia's political system

COMMENT | On July 16, 2019, Malaysia’s Lower House of Parliament, the Dewan Rakyat, created history by passing an amendment to the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed after unanimous support was given by both sides of the political divide, marking the first time a bill received multi-partisan support in Pakatan Harapan’s administration.

All 211 Members of Parliament present voted for the amendment, far more than the two-thirds majority (148 votes) needed to pass any constitutional amendment in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat.

Besides the lowering of the voting age, the amendment also included provisions for automated voter registration and the lowering of the minimum age to stand in elections, in accordance with the new voting age.

By GE15, which is supposed to be held the latest in 2023, estimates by the government expect some 7.8 million new voters will be added into the electoral roll through this constitutional amendment. With this amendment, the Pakatan Harapan government has fulfilled a major component of its election manifesto.

Malaysia’s democracy will now have more fresh blood in it. The Digital Parliament programme, held by various youth advocacy groups in response to the one-day Dewan Rakyat sitting on May 18, has shown that our youth are more than ready to step into the world of politics...

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