Tuesday, 16 July 2019 – The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) applauds the unanimous passing of the constitutional amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 years old in Parliament today.
“Allowing Malaysians to vote from the age of 18 brings us in line with our neighbours in the region such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. This is a historic day for Malaysia, this amendment will present young Malaysians with the opportunity to participate in an essential and most basic component of a democracy – that is to cast their vote for the leader of their choice. Moreover, the amendment also entails that 18 year-olds are now eligible to be nominated as candidates for elections – paving the way for our talented youth to chart the country’s future as leaders. This is an extremely positive development in our efforts to become an increasingly mature democracy,” said Aira Azhari, Senior Executive in Democracy and Governance at IDEAS.
Beyond the amendment itself, a welcome development is the bipartisan support that the amendment received from both sides of the House. “The amendment passed with unanimous support, 211 votes indicates that both the Government and Opposition are united in advancing this important right for Malaysians. I am very happy to see MPs setting aside their political differences for the betterment of the country. I am hopeful that this magnanimity and cooperation between our lawmakers will continue both inside and outside the House. The country’s future must be prioritised, regardless of different political beliefs,” added Aira.