As a youth myself from DAPSY Stampin, I am appalled by the government’s latest move to continue the disenfranchisement of the youth. This backtrack came despite the assurance from the de facto Law Minister last year that the implementation of the new amendments would roll out by July this year.
By delaying the implementation of the new legislative amendments, the government is in effect saying that the youth do not have a stake in society. I am concerned by the implications of such a proposition as the youth have much potential to contribute to our nation-building and steering the direction of this country. Their diverse opinions and ideals should be appreciated and welcomed, not shut down and excluded.
The participation in our country’s politics is not an exclusive matter reserved for the elite few. It is certainly not meant to be a self-serving career for veteran politicians only. Politics should be accessible to everyone across all age groups mature enough to appreciate the nature of their civic duty. This is consistent with the practice of many countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and even Bangladesh. In fact, 18 years old is the most common minimum voting age. I therefore find it hard to accept that the government cannot even deliver on such basic rights.
The continued disenfranchisement of young voters needs to be rectified promptly, not further delayed. In fact, these amendments are long overdue. It is incumbent upon the government of the day to right this decades-long wrong. I urge the government to respect and restore the democratic voices of the younger generation and take practical steps to ensure the youth’s participation in GE15. The government should also bear in mind that the legislation received unanimous support in both Houses. If the Prime Minister cannot deliver what he himself supported while he was with the Pakatan Harapan government, then I suggest he tender his resignation and let someone else with the political will do it.
DAPSY Stampin Publicity Secretary