Malaysia’s youth to protest outside Parliament building over voting age delay

The Parliament building. Photo: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/ Wikimedia Commons
The Parliament building. Photo: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/ Wikimedia Commons

Malaysian youths disappointed they might not be able to vote in the elections this year are expected to hold a protest outside the parliament building tomorrow.

Members of the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition plan to stage a protest at 2pm tomorrow against the Election Commission’s decision to postpone the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 years old, amid anticipation that a general election could take place after the country’s state of emergency expires in August. 

 “Taking responsibility that the denial of this right must be fought by all groups of young people ― inside and outside the political circle ― we call for a peaceful protest to be mobilized on Saturday, March 27, 2021 in front of the Malaysian Parliament,” Shazni Munir, chief of the opposition coalition’s youth arm, said today. 

The Election Commission was supposed to lower the voting age and allow the registration of new voters by July, concluding a five-year “Vote18” campaign that began in 2016. The delay has been attributed to the pandemic and the ongoing lockdown, which is an excuse that even the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin has deemed to be invalid. 

“The excuse given by the EC saying that the lockdown has disrupted their workflow is unreasonable, seeing that we’ve been under lockdown for over a year already,” Khairy, 45, wrote on his website.

About 1.2 million Malaysians fall under the 18-20 age group, according to the Election Commission. 

Others who have spoken against the commission’s delay include former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq, who has publicly accused the government of lying. 


Other stories to check out:

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

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