KUALA LUMPUR: The government today withdrew a tabled bill to reduce the voting age from 21 to 18 so as to table tomorrow an amended version that also provides for automatic voter registration and lowering to 18 the eligible age of electoral candidates.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in explaining the development to reporters at the Parliament lobby, said the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 was withdrawn to add the two provisions.
“At the first reading (of the bill), we only considered lowering the voting age to 18 but not the automatic voter registration. There was a request to provide for automatic voter registration and lower the eligible age of electoral candidates,” he said.
In the Dewan Rakyat earlier, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman tabled a motion before Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof to withdraw the bill, which was scheduled for the second reading.
Dr Mahathir said he is confident the amended bill will get the support of two-thirds of the members of the Dewan Rakyat. Any bill to amend the constitution requires a two-thirds majority for it to be passed.
The Prime Minister said the opposition bloc stated its commitment at a meeting today to support the amended bill.
“All have given the commitment to support the amended bill, with the inclusion of the provisions for automatic voter registration and setting 18 as the eligible age of electoral candidates.
“We are confident (of the two-thirds support); don’t tell me they want to cheat me,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also said that the National Security Council (Amendment) Bill 2019 will also be withdrawn and that this will be explained by Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. – Bernama