Automatic voter registration needs constitutional amendment, says EC

Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun.

KUALA LUMPUR: Automatic registration of voters can only be implemented if amendments are made to the Federal Constitution, said Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan Harun.

He said existing laws require citizens to apply to be registered as voters if they wish to vote.

“Automatic registration needs some amendments to the Federal Constitution and Election Regulations because based on the existing legal framework, those who wish to register as voters must apply.

“They need to fill in form A. The provision is such, and if we want automatic registration, these provisions need to be amended,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.

He was commenting on reports that opposition MPs would support the bill to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 if there are also amendments to provide for automatic registration of voters at 18 and the eligible age to contest in elections is also lowered to 18.

The Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2019 to amend Article 119 (1) (a) of the Federal Constitution to allow voting at 18 was tabled by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat today.

The proposed amendment needs the support of a two-thirds majority of the 222 MPs to pass.