Lower voting age to 18, says Syed Saddiq

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman says young people need more political exposure at the upper secondary school level. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is pushing for the legal voting age in Malaysia to be lowered to 18 instead of the current 21.

“My target is it can be done ahead of the 15th general election. But first, we have to have a political exposure programme for young people,” he told reporters after attending a function here last night.

Syed Saddiq said he would hold discussions with Education Minister Maszlee Malik on how exposure to the democratic process could be applied at the school level.

He said Malaysia should provide political exposure to students at the upper secondary level as is done in several other countries.

“In these countries, at the age of 17 or 18 they are eligible to vote and it has been so since the 1960s.

“But in Malaysia, (some) are of the opinion that young people (are ignorant) and label them as ‘WeChat’ groups,” he added.

He said the Youth Parliament programme was an example of how political exposure could benefit young people, adding that such efforts should be strengthened.

He also said efforts would be made to implement an age limit of 35 for joining youth associations.