Malaysia’s voting age protesters to meet with police tomorrow

Maszlee Malik (middle) joins the Undi18 protest. Photo: Coconuts KL
Maszlee Malik (middle) joins the Undi18 protest. Photo: Coconuts KL

UPDATE: Dozens gather outside KL police station to support protesters

At least 11 people out of the hundreds who protested the decision to put off lowering Malaysia’s voting age will be questioned by the police tomorrow.  

Amir Hadi, who is a member of the youth-led political party Muda, said on Twitter today that he and 10 others have been called for questioning at the Dang Wangi station tomorrow afternoon while the police investigate the Saturday protest for taking place without notifying the authorities and for potentially breaching COVID-19 safety protocols. 

“Myself and ten other people have been called by the police to assist with investigations regarding the #Undi18Now protest,” Amir, 30, wrote on Twitter. He was among those who led the 30-minute protest outside the Parliament building on Saturday that was attended by hundreds of people including former education minister Maszlee Malik. 

“We will not be intimidated,” Amir continued. “We will meet with the authorities at the Dang Wangi police station tomorrow, at 2.30pm.”

Amir added that protesters from other political parties such as the Democratic Action Party, Amanah, and the Malaysia Socialist Party were also called up by the police. Sharan Raj from the Malaysia Socialist Party confirmed that he was contacted while others have not spoken publicly about the police investigation. The police did not immediately respond to Coconuts’ request for comment. 

Protests are allowed in Malaysia as long as the authorities are informed 10 days in advance. Nonetheless, dozens of police officers and armed soldiers were seen at the protest site along Jalan Parlimen as the crowd carried placards and chanted “Let us have our rights to vote!” and “Where are our votes?” 

Protesters were responding to the Election Commission’s surprise decision to delay the lowering of Malaysia’s voting age from July to Sep 2022, which means that over a million Malaysians aged 18 and above would not be able to vote if an election was to be called after the state of emergency expires in August. Malaysia’s king earlier this year consented to emergency powers for Muhyiddin Yassin’s government, citing spiraling COVID-19 cases, but the move has been widely criticized for clamping down on political activities, including preventing parliamentary proceedings.

The current legal age to vote in Malaysia is 21. Malaysia’s youth have been campaigning since 2016 for the voting age to be lowered to 18. 

Protesters marching towards the Parliament building. Photo: Coconuts KL
Protesters marching towards the Parliament building. Photo: Coconuts KL


Other stories to check out:

Civil society groups protest Malaysia’s use of emergency powers on ‘fake news’

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