Law Minister Says EC Has Been Notified To Prepare For Implementation Of 'Undi 18'

De facto Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said there is no directive from the government to appeal the Kuching High Court's decision yet.

Cover image via The Borneo Post & Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini via Yahoo! News

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The federal government will comply with the Kuching High Court's decision to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 by year end, said de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

According to Free Malaysia Today, Wan Junaidi said the government has told the Election Commission (EC) to prepare to implement 'Undi 18' amendments before 31 December.

He also said Putrajaya has yet to put out any directive to appeal the Kuching High Court's decision.

"It has not been decided yet whether we want to appeal. I will discuss this with the Attorney-General and the Cabinet," he told journalists during a press conference today, 7 September.

"But the EC has been instructed to prepare to implement this (by 31 December)."

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via EPA-EFE via The Straits Times

The implementation will enable 1.9 million individuals age between 18 and 21 to become new voters, said Wan Junaidi

Other than lowering the voting age, the 'Undi 18' bill also allows Malaysians to be automatically registered as voters.

That, he said, will enable 4.4 million unregistered voters above the age of 21 to automatically become electorates, reported Malaysiakini.

It was previously estimated that the total number of voters is expected to increase by more than 50%, from 14.9 million in 2018 to 22.7 million.

Prior to this, EC announced in March that Malaysians under the age of 21 can only start voting after September 2022 as the Movement Control Order (MCO) had hindered Undi 18's implementation

In response to the announcement, five youths age between 18 and 20 filed a judicial review application to compel the government to implement Undi 18 promptly on 4 May.

The application named the Prime Minister at that time, the Malaysian government, and the EC as respondents.

Last Friday, 3 September, the Kuching High Court ruled in favour of the youths, reported Bernama.

In his rulings, Judicial Commissioner (JC) Alexander Siew How Wai said it was nonsensical that the respondents had from 2019 to 10 March 2021 repeatedly maintained that they were on track to implement Section 3 of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019 by July 2021, but before the end of March 2021, the respondents backpedalled and said the implementation could only be done in September 2022 at the earliest.

He also said the respondents' decision to delay Undi 18 is "irrational" and "illegal".

As such, the Kuching High Court squashed the respondents' decision to delay Undi 18 beyond July 2021 before granting an order of mandamus to compel the government and EC to take all necessary steps to implement Undi 18 as soon as possible,

Image via Dayak Daily

In a tweet today, Undi18 co-founder Qyira Yusri thanked everyone involved in fighting for youths' voting rights

Other than her co-founder Tharma Pillai and MUDA president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, among others, Qyira also thanked the 18 youths from Kuala Lumpur and five from Sarawak for filing the judiciary review.

In March, the Dewan Negara president and EC explained why Undi18 had to be delayed:

What started as the "crazy idea" of two youths has now become law:

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