PETALING JAYA, Mar 26: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has added to the growing criticisms in delaying the automatic registration of 18-year-olds as voters, saying the decision was made out of fear.

“It is just their decision to not give 18-year-olds the right to vote because they fear the youth may turn against them,” the former prime minister said, referring to the government, in a Clubhouse session.

Mahathir said that when Pakatan Harapan took over Putrajaya in 2018, the first thing it did was to approve the registration of youths aged 18 and above as voters.

He also said there was “ample time” to do everything needed in order to give this right to vote to the 18-year-olds.

Apparently, the Langkawi MP said, this was not taken seriously.

“For me, it is a bad decision. We should take every action in the next two years to ensure that young people have the right to vote in the next election.”

Yesterday, EC chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said the automatic registration of 18-year-olds as voters was expected to be delayed until after September 2022.

He said the movement restrictions due to the pandemic had disrupted the EC’s preparations to implement the Act passed in Parliament in July 2019.

The move has since sparked criticisms from the opposition, with some demanding Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and law minister Takiyuddin Hassan resign over the fiasco.

A non-governmental organisation, Undi18, is also planning to take Putrajaya to court over the delay.

Science, technology and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin has also criticised the reason for the delay by the EC calling it nonsensical.


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