KUCHING, Sept 3 — The High Court here today ordered the Election Commission (EC) and government to implement Undi 18 by Dec 31 this year.

Judicial Commissioner (JC) Alexander Siew How Wai made the order when allowing the judicial review application brought by five Malaysian youths to seek immediate enforcement of a Federal Constitution amendment to lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18.

“This court is compelled to and hereby grants an order of mandamus that the respondents take all steps necessary for Section 3 (of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019) to come into operation as soon as possible and in any event by Dec 31, 2021,” he said.

The judicial commissioner also granted the youths’ application for an order of certiorari quashing the decision of the respondents (the Prime Minister at the time, the Government and EC) to defer the implementation of Section 3 to after September 2022.

Section 3 deals with lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 and allows for automatic voter registration to replace the current system where Malaysians have to apply to be registered as voters.

The JC said the court also found that it was simply nonsensical that from 2019 to March 10, 2021, the respondents had repeatedly maintained that they were on track to implement Section 3 by July 2021, but before the end of March 2021, they turned around to say the implementation could only be done in September 2022 at the earliest.

“The court further finds that any decision to defer the implementation of Section 3 to after September 2022 to be not only manifestly irrational but illegal,” he said.

On May 4, this year the five youths all aged 18 to 20 filed the judicial review application naming the Prime Minister at that time, the Malaysian Government and the EC as respondents.

The youths were represented by lawyer Simon Siah and Clarice Chan while Senior Federal Counsels Shamsul Bolhassan and Azizan Md Arshad represented the respondents.


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