Our support for voting age change conditional, says PAS

Both the government and opposition agree that voting age should be lowered to 18 years.

KUALA LUMPUR: A PAS MP said the opposition will only back a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18 if the government agrees to two other changes before tabling it for second reading on July 16.

“If the amendments are done, we will vote for the bill,” said Kota Bharu MP Takiyuddin Hassan. “We will wait and see.”

The opposition has said it will back the amendment bill if it comes with automatic registration of voters, as well as lowering election candidates’ minimum age to 18.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expected to brief MPs tomorrow on the amendment.

A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority or at least 148 votes. Pakatan Harapan has 139 MPs.

MCA president Wee Ka Siong also expressed support for the amendment “if the opposition’s proposal is accepted by the government”.

“This means it is no longer like what it used to be, being stubborn with constitutional amendments and not consulting the other side,” said the Ayer Hitam MP.

Wee said it would be strange if those allowed to vote at that age are barred from contesting as candidates.

Wee said he was disappointed with a statement by Entrepreneurial Development Minister Redzuan Yusof that the youth entrepreneurial programme will still be extended to those aged 40.

This was despite the Dewan Rakyat approving an amendment to the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act, lowering the youth age limit from 40 to 30.

“Redzuan is sticking to the age 40 youth limit. This means there was no consultation,” Wee said.

The amendment now awaits approval by the Dewan Negara.

Wee urged the government not to have “two systems”.

“This is what it is now. If the Johor menteri besar says 40 years old is the youth definition, and if Redzuan sticks to 40 for entrepreneurial programmes, then what is the use for us to sweat it out in our debates to reduce the youth age to 30?” he asked.