KUCHING, Sept 8 — Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) Central Youth Committee has urged the government and Election Commission to comply with the Court order to implement the constitutional amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 (Undi18) by this December 31.
In a statement yesterday, it described the decision by The High Court of Sabah and Sarawak in Kuching that an order of certiorari was granted to quash the decision of the respondents in their decision to not implement Amendment Act by July 2021 and an order of mandamus to compel the respondents to implement Section 3 of the Amendment Act by December 31 as “a historic victory for the youths of Sarawak”.
“This action is consistent with the role of youth in modern society, many youths start their working life at 18 years old these days, and in doing so are making meaningful contribution to society, weaving their efforts into maintaining peaceful, progressive and prosperous economy.
“Their contribution must not go unnoticed, unheeded or ignored. Their right to vote is timely considering that Youths too pay income and sales tax. The maxim is “taxation without representation is tyranny”. Meanwhile it also doesn’t make sense that 18 years olds can marry and start a family while being denied the right to vote,” it said.
“PSB Youth anticipates that there may be personalities who are keen to maintain the status quo and to continue to deny youths this hard-fought right, and prompt an appeal against the decision of the High Court to further prolong the implementation of Undi 18.
“We warn against such a move as it will be divisive and improper considering the earlier constitutional amendment. Youths are our future and ought not to be denied,” the statement added.
The court order of mandamus was passed on September 3 when the Kuching High Court Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew allowed the judicial review application filed by five Sarawakian students aged between 19 and 20 against the federal government’s decision to delay the implementation of the lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.
The applicants Ivan Alexander Ong, Sharifah Maheerah Syed Haizir, Chang Swee Ern, Tiffany Wee Ke Ying and Viviyen Desi George named the Government of Malaysia, the Prime Minister and the Election Commission (EC) as respondents.
These students, claiming to represent the Undi Sarawak campaign group, filed the judicial review application at the Kuching High Court on May 4, 2021.
In their suit, they were seeking declarations that the government’s action in delaying the implementation of lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 is irrational, illegal, disproportionate and amounts to voters’ suppression and, that 18 to 20-year-olds do have legitimate expectation that they will have the right to vote in next elections.
EC chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh had on March 25, 2021 stated that both the Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) and lowering of the voting age will only be implemented after Sept 1, 2022 due to various constraints and issues faced by the EC, which allegedly includes the ongoing developments in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. — Borneo Post Online