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The trio are seeking leave to apply judicial review for a declaration that the applicants would be citizens entitled to vote in any election held after Dec 15 this year. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
The trio are seeking leave to apply judicial review for a declaration that the applicants would be citizens entitled to vote in any election held after Dec 15 this year. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Three youths aged between 18 and 19 have filed an application to the High Court here for judicial review against the Registrar of Electors for Sarawak and Election Commission (EC) to exercise their voting rights in the 12th state election.

Avril Clarice Chin Ning, 18 and Ivan Alexander Ong and Addam Johanson Jeremy Shayne, both 19, filed the application with the help of lawyers Clement Wong, George Lo and Simon Siah yesterday.

“In this application, they are seeking leave to apply judicial review for a declaration that the applicants would be citizens entitled to vote in any election held after Dec 15 this year, to quash the Election Notice (polling set for Dec 18), to quash the Electoral Roll Notice (which was gazetted second quarter of this year) and a direction or order of the nature of mandamus to compel the respondents to take urgent and immediate steps to ensure that applicants and other like citizens entitled to vote under Article 119 of the Federal Constitution are included in the supplementary electoral roll for the upcoming state election and so on.

“It is their constitutional right to vote under the Federal Constitution, and they are entitled to vote after Dec 15. The application will be heard by the High Court this coming Monday (Dec 13). Hopefully a decision could be made before Dec 18 (polling day),” Wong told a press conference in the presence of Chin, Ivan and Addam as well as Siah and Lo yesterday.

According to Wong, Yang di-Pertuan Agong has fixed Dec 15 as the date of coming into effect of Section 3 of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019 (Act A1603) (the “Amending Act”) which reduced the voting age from 21 to 18.

“It also provides for the automatic registration of voters once they attain the age of 18. In effect, all citizens upon attaining the age of 18 will be entitled to vote in the 12th state election. They will automatically be registered as voters.

“But they (Chin, Ivan and Addam) are not, their names are not on the electoral rolls. This is because they are currently not registered as voters in the electoral rolls used under the Electoral Roll Notice,” explained Wong.

Lo opined that the three brave young people are trying to acquire the constitutional right to vote, and have their votes counted in this forthcoming election.

“It is wrong to deprive them of their right to vote as it was gazetted that Undi18 (lowering the voting age from 21 to 18) will be implemented on Dec 15 this year, three days before the polling day,” he said.

He said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government could have waited until the Emergency lapsed on Feb 2 next year and hold the 12th state polls after that.

Instead, the GPS government decided to rush into this election to avoid Undi18, he added.

Lo said even the opposition could not say how young voters aged between 18 and 20 are going to vote but the opposition welcomed Undi18 and respected the rights of the youths to vote.

He said GPS had paid lip service in welcoming Undi18 but tried to avoid them (voters aged 18 to 20).

“GPS spinned the story by saying that the election is called now because its mandate has expired. This is nonsense because the mandate expired June this year.”

Lo added that this is a fight for the right of young people to vote in this election and their votes should be counted.

Undi18, which was unanimously passed in Parliament in July 2019, was supposed to be implemented in two years.

Early March this year, the EC informed that its system was ready for the implementation of Undi18 and automatic voter registration.

In a statement issued late March this year, the EC, however, said Undi18 and automatic voter registration would only be implemented Sept 1 next year.

In September this year, a group of five youths in Sarawak succeeded in their legal challenge against the EC in the High Court here which ruled in their favour.

The High Court had given an order to compel the EC, the government of Malaysia and the prime minister to implement Undi18 and automatic voter registration by Dec 31 this year. — Borneo Post

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