Uproar as deputy minister says BN MPs may sabotage reforms

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin today raised concerns that Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs may sabotage the government’s plan to lower the voting age to 18 and implement e-voting.

He said the government needed a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat to change the constitution.

“Some of you may support, but we cannot take the risk. You guys from BN can’t even listen to your colleagues, what more listen to us.

“I am afraid that some will say they support now, and later flip-flop on their decision because you opposition members, your job is always only to embarrass the government. I’ve been in politics for so long, I know your mentality,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.

This caused two BN MPs to stand up and challenge him, with Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) accusing him of being unprofessional.

Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Krau) shouted through the microphone: “Answer properly. You are already the government, change your attitude. Your mentality is still like the opposition.”

As the situation started to get out of control, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon switched off the microphones and asked for calm, before asking Hanipa to continue with his answer.

The deputy minister had been responding to Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) on whether the proposed changes to the election process would require amendments to the constitution when the uproar occurred.

Hanipa revealed that as of June 30, over 3.6 million eligible Malaysians over the age of 21 had yet to register as voters.

He said the reason the government wanted to lower the voting age to 18 was to bring it in line with international practice, noting that even in Asean, only Malaysia and Singapore allowed voting at age 21.