Dr M tables voting age bill ahead of show of unity in Dewan Rakyat

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad tables the bill to lower the age for voting and election candidacy to 18 in the Dewan Rakyat today.

KUALA LUMPUR: The much awaited constitutional amendment to lower the age for voting and election candidacy to 18 was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat today, in what could mark the coming together of MPs from both sides of the divide.

Tabling the bill, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government also agreed to the opposition’s proposal for the automatic registration of voters.

The prime minister said many countries allow their citizens to vote at the age of 18 as youth become more politically aware.

“They are mature, more informed and more independent these days,” he added.

He said while in most Asian countries, the minimum age for contesting elections is 21, it is lower in Europe, Australia and New Zealand where 18-year-olds can also stand as candidates.

The Cabinet agreed to lower the voting age in September last year.

Last week, the prime minister announced that the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council had agreed to include automatic registration in the amendment.

Fifty-eight MPs are expected to debate the bill before taking the vote.