M'sia lowers voting age to 18

Age to be lawmaker also lowered to 18.

Belmont Lay | July 17, 2019, 12:39 AM

The ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition government has made history by lowering the age of voters and election candidates in Malaysia to 18 years old on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

Bipartisan support

PH managed to get Members of Parliament from the incumbent and opposition to amend the federal constitution.

This occurred after a four-hour debate, where 211 out of 222 MPs voted in favour of the government’s amendment bill at the second and third readings.

Support of two-thirds of lawmakers is required for constitutional amendments.

No one voted against nor abstained at 6.45pm after the second and third readings.

Eleven MPs were absent.

A total of 58 MPs debated the bill.

Mahathir's input

Malaysia prime minister Mahathir Mohamad personally wrote to each MP urging their support for the historic bill.

He tabled the bill for the second reading earlier on Tuesday, before the debate began.

What was amended?

Article 119 (1) on a citizen’s minimum voting age in the federal constitution was amended from 21 to 18.

Clause (4) was also amended to allow for automatic voter registration for 18-year-olds.

Article 47 was also amended to replace age 21 with 18 as the minimum age for a person to be elected to the legislative assembly.

No majority but amendment pushed through

This is only the second time in Malaysia parliament’s history that the federal constitution has been altered when the ruling government did not have a two-thirds super majority, despite amendments having been made numerous times over the years.

A two-thirds super majority requires 148 MPs or more in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat.

Pakatan currently only has direct control of 139 MPs.

Why Malaysia lowered voting age?: