By Malaysiakini

The government has been urged not to delay implementing automatic voter registration to deny 18-year-olds the right to vote.

The Young Voters Association, also known as the Undi18 group, said 18-year-olds can be registered now, without waiting for automatic registration.

“We believe the Election Commission (EC) can take more time to prepare for the implementation of automatic registration if necessary.

“However, those aged 18 to 20 must be given the right to register as voters immediately, in line with the original timeline to implement Undi18,” it said in a statement tonight.

It also called on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to state his commitment to lowering the voting age, which he supported in Parliament in 2019.

The Dewan Rakyat had unanimously voted to implement Undi18 that year.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin

Earlier, the EC said it was postponing Undi18 and automatic voter registration to after September next year, despite de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan saying it was on track for implementation in July.

The EC said the movement control order had affected its planning and preparations to lower the voting age.

Critics, however, argued there was no reason why the existing voter registration system can’t be extended to 18-year-olds.

Under the current system, those who are 21 and above can manually register to vote, such as at the post office, or through the MySPR Daftar website.

According to the EC, there are about 1.2 million youths aged 18 to 20.

Meanwhile, the Undi18 group and the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) are both planning to sue the government to compel them to gazette and implement Undi18.

Undi18 group co-founder Qyira Yusri told Malaysiakini that they plan to do this by securing a mandamus order.

Lawyer New Sin Yew explained that if the lawsuit succeeds, the government would be forced to gazette Undi18, and put into force amendments to the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age.