18-year-old Malaysians' right to vote in general elections cannot be implemented for now, said Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Rais Yatim
According to Rais, this is due to various time-consuming constraints faced by the relevant agencies in implementing 'Undi18' before the country is really ready to allow 18-year-olds to register as voters.
The Undi 18 Bill, officially known as Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019, was passed by the Dewan Negara with support from all Members of Parliament (MPs) in July 2019 and gazetted two months later.
The Bill lowers the voting age from 21 to 18 with automatic voter registration for them.
The Dewan Negara president said that while the Bill has been passed in terms of legislation, in terms of readiness, there are many gaps
He said this while appearing as a guest on Bernama TV's Ruang Bicara Programme on 10 March.
During the programme, Rais said that it would take time to come up with the list of 18-year-old Malaysians who are eligible to vote and the constituencies they come from.
"After looking at the real situation from the lens of the Dewan Negara, this 'Undi18' is not practical to be implemented in this season," he said, as reported by Utusan Malaysia.
"On the issue of 18-year-olds voting, whether we can implement it now, the answer is no. Although it has been passed in terms of the legislature, in terms of readiness there are many gaps."
The 78-year-old Bersatu politician's comment on 'Undi18' last night came after his reported remarks last month when he claimed that the decision to lower the voting age to 18 years old starting this July was made in haste and that teenagers are still not ready to commit to the democratic process.
In July last year, the Dewan Rakyat was told that implementation of 'Undi18' and automatic voter registration will be done by July 2021
According to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Parliament and Law Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, the Election Commission (EC) is working with the National Registration Department.
"The EC expects all preparations that are being acted upon to be completed within 18 to 24 months from the date of approval by the Senate on 25 July 2019. The implementation date is expected to be at the latest, July 2021," he said in a written Parliamentary reply, as reported by The Malaysian Reserve.
In September last year, the Dewan Negara was told that a total of 4.2 million Malaysians aged 21 and above have yet to register as voters: