The move to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 is now followed by efforts to educate young voters through the Rukun Negara school programme to enable them to perform their duties responsibly.
The programme, triggered by the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Election Commission appears to be on the right track to expose young people to democratic practices and instil political literacy.
“The programme is aimed specifically at youths aged 18 to 25 to create healthy political awareness and understanding of their rights as new voters,” said the ministry’s special duties officer Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal.
The specially designed Rukun Negara school programme syllabus is still at the drafting stage and has received input from various stakeholders including professors, politicians, culturalists and historians.
Efforts are also being made to train the programme’s facilitators to have sufficient knowledge to educate young people participating in the programme before it is launched this month.
“Maybe each state will train about 200 people in the early stages for us to test if the programme works or not,” he said in an interview with Bernama today.
Meanwhile, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal said the programme would be conducted on weekends first and anyone could participate.
Once the module is completed, they will organise a tour of schools and universities through the Rakan Muda secretariat which is also under the supervision of the ministry, he said.
The programme was also in line with suggestions of some members of Parliament, among them Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (PH-Tanah Merah) and Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera) during a debate on the bill to reduce the age limit of voters.