Msia merely following trend to lower voting age Masidi
0 month ago, 13-Jul-2019
Masidi and Bolkiah
KOTA KINABALU: Lowering the voting age seems to be the trend all over the world and Malaysia is merely following suit, said Karanaan assemblyman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
However, there are merits and demerits to automatic registration, he said.
“Automatic registration does not necessarily mean there would be higher percentage of voters exercising their right.
“Under the present system, ‘non registration’ is just one of the reasons people don’t go out to vote. I believe it is attitude and apathy.
“Unless voting is made compulsory, registered voters including the 18-21 age group may still find reasons not to go out to vote. In fact, there are people who claim that not voting is also their right,” said Masidi who is also Ranau Bersatu protem division chief.
In the case of Sabah, Masidi said automatic registration would reopen another dimension to the allegations of foreigners getting a blue identity card (IC).
Automatic registration, he said, meant the authorities would lose the last opportunity and power to vet applicants to ensure only bona fide Malaysians are allowed to vote.
“Some people may argue that the fact that they are in possession of a blue IC is clear proof they are Malaysians.
“With so many allegations of foreigners unfairly getting citizenship via the back door, I think we should not treat the issue lightly,” he said.
Masidi added automatic registration should include mechanisms to vet voters registration to ensure only genuine Malaysians are eligible to vote to decide the future of this country.
Pitas assemblyman Datuk Bolkiah Ismail said lowering the age of voters and automatic registration do not seem to be right in assisting toward nation building, which should especially focus on acquiring necessary skills and knowledge.
He said after 18 years old, youths should be in universities or colleges and the focus should be to equip them with necessary skills and expertise.
Involving them in politics will divert their attention to something not related to their studies. We might not produce good quality graduates.
Universities and colleges or even secondary schools might become the centre of attention for political parties to get support during election campaigns and this will create disharmony and hatred among students due to different political ideology which will dampen nation building.
More voters to be registered and more voting centres to be opened and this will add more expenses for the government, especially the Election Commision during the election process,” he said.
On Thursday, the Constitution (Amendment) 2019 Bill to lower the voting and election candidacy age to 18 and allow for automatic registration of voters was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.
In Sabah, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) was the most vocal in commenting on the issue.
Its president, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, said the party was not in favour of the automatic registration amendment.
“The situation is different between east and west Malaysia. In Sabah, it is an open secret that there is a large presence of illegal immigrants, and their numbers could easily be over one million, of whom thousands are suspected to have become voters.
“Many of these illegal foreigners are suspected to be holders of fake identity cards, or ICs illegally given, or dubious birth certificates,” he said in a statement on Thursday.