DAP calls for automatic voter registration, lower voting age

M-Kulasegaran-undiPETALING JAYA: Automatic voter registration and lowering the voting age to 18 will counter the general apathy among youths towards politics, says DAP national vice-chairman M Kulasegaran.

Referring to a recent survey which showed that most youths were not interested in politics, he called for radical counter-measures to check the problem.

“If youths at the age of 18 can enter into legal contracts and are taxable, I don’t see why they have to wait another three years before they can vote.

“We have 13 milllion voters on the rolls and another 3.6 million yet to register, with most of the unregistered in the 21 to 35 age group,” Kulasegaran said at a DAP-organised course for polling and counting agents (PACA) in Ipoh yesterday.

Kula, who is Ipoh Barat MP, added that the trend seems to be continuing from the last general election, when there were almost 12 million voters on the rolls and four million yet to register.

“This seems to be the pattern that we can’t get those who have just become eligible to vote to register which combined with those who had become eligible some years back makes for a recurrently similar overall quantity of unregistered voters at about four million.

“This is far too high a number which reflects the magnitude of the apathy towards politics among youths,” Kula said.

On the training of PACA, the Pakatan Harapan vice-president said it was “an indispensable weapon against electoral fraud”.

Distrust for politicians and the lack of interest in politics have contributed to the low number of young voters in Peninsular Malaysia, a public opinion survey had shown.

The survey, titled “Public Opinion Survey: Youth Perception on the Economy, Leadership and Current Issues”, showed that 70% of the 604 surveyed were not interested in politics.

Some 66% were of the view that politicians were not trustworthy, 54% felt that politicians did not care about people’s problems, and 66% felt that politicians themselves were the cause of many problems.

A whopping 71% of those surveyed felt that they had no influence on the government, and 75% felt that politics was complicated.

Some 69% felt that public officials did not care about the public.