Introduce automatic voter registration, urges youth body

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says his administration may lower voting age to 18. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has been urged to adopt the automatic voter registration concept instead of lowering the voting age to 18.

Felda Malaysia Youth Council (MBFM) president Muhammad Fadzil Hasan said it was best for the government to introduce the system where citizens were automatically listed on the electoral roll at the eligible voting age of 21.

“If we lower the age limit, and if young individuals fail to register, they will have no chance to vote. So it would be best if they are automatically listed as voters when they turn 21.

“As for its implementation, the government through the Election Commission and the National Registration Department must work together to introduce appropriate mechanisms or systems to realise the objective,” he told Bernama when contacted today.

He said the idea was suggested by many parties, including local non-governmental organisations, but did not get any attention because the existing voter registration system was considered efficient.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently said his administration might lower the voting age to 18 following the overwhelming interest shown by the youths in the 14th general election (GE14), which saw the government change hands for the first time.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, in its GE14 manifesto, had sought to change the voting age limit from 21 to 18 years.

Suggestions on lowering the age limit received mixed reactions from the public.

Muhammad Fardhi Syawal, 24, a private sector employee, said the proposal was not a good idea as it was a period of transition for most youths who would have just left school and were entering early adulthood.

“They would not be able to think rationally. At such an age, they are easily influenced and are emotional; they are not as mature in their thinking.

“The proof is that the country is still facing various social issues involving 18-year-olds.”

However, Aizuddin Aiman Maon, 26, was of the view that the proposal could educate young people to be more responsible.

“Today’s youths are wiser and more aware of their responsibilities. They are able to express their views and their rights through the right channel — the electoral system,” he said.