PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Cabinet has agreed to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said on Wednesday (Sep 19).
Speaking at a post-Cabinet meeting press conference, Syed Saddiq said an amendment to the Federal Constitution will have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in the lower house of the parliament for the decision to take effect.
He said he would work towards securing this majority by meeting up with young Members of Parliament (MPs), regardless of their political parties, to set up a youth caucus.
“The youth caucus will enable the obtaining of input from the young MPs of every party, not only on the voting age but other issues involving youths as well,” he said.
Syed Saddiq also said he will set up a committee comprising the youth chiefs of all political parties in the country to discuss the motion on the new voting age.
“We need their support. The voting age of 18 has been long-awaited by young Malaysians. Although we have different political views, I am sure we can be united in youth empowerment,” he said.
Asked whether the proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution will be tabled at the next session of the lower house, Syed Saddiq said that the matter will have to be discussed with all stakeholders.
The minister said he was confident the voting age of 18 will be implemented in the 15th general election. GE15 is due in 2023.
"I have had informal discussions with opposition leaders and they are keen for it,” he said, adding that UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had also recently announced that UMNO would lower the membership age from 18 to 16.
Syed Saddiq said he has also met the Election Commission and Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to secure agreement on the proposed motion on the voting age.