The Perikatan Nasional government has clearly failed the youth by failing to implement #Undi18 as promised, robbing the rights of millions of youths to vote in the upcoming General Election which is expected to happen as early as this year, after the emergency ordinance is lifted.
I am extremely angered by the announcement by the Election Commission that has decided to postpone the implementation of Undi18, including automatic voter registration to Sept 1 next year. This is contrary to the initial promise to have it implemented in July 2021.
This has effectively robbed the voting rights of up to 3.8 million youths between the age of 18 to 20 who are eligible to vote in the upcoming General Election, especially if it is held at the end of the year or early next year.
Currently, youth unemployment in our country is at a worrying state of 13.2%, 2.5 times more than the overall unemployment rate. We haven’t even taken into account underemployment and the difficulties our graduates face in finding a quality job.
On top of that, we see that the education of so many youths has been affected due to the pandemic. But yet, even after 1 year, the Education Ministry still has not come up with a comprehensive long-term policy to address the “lost generation” that has been badly affected by the pandemic.
Even with so many issues already affecting the youth, the PN government has robbed the right to vote from young Malaysians. We can no longer disenfranchise 3.8 million adults from our country’s formal democratic process.
Taking the voices of the youth for granted and denying them their right to vote is an outright regressive move.
The government even tries to hide behind the excuse of the Movement Control Order (MCO) for the delay, which makes no sense as it has nothing to do with its proper implementation. This shows a clear pattern – that they hide behind the excuse of a pandemic when they are afraid to face the people or implement policies that empower the people.
This is why I urge that both the current Minister of Youth & Sports and his Deputy resign immediately, especially if they fail to protect the rights and voices of youth in our country.
Young Malaysians are not naïve, nor are they immature. They are part of the most educated generation and grew up in an age of hyper-information. More and more young Malaysians are more informed of the current situation in our country, especially with the influx of information via formal and informal media.
This is why the failure to implement the Undi18 amendments is clearly unconstitutional and is an act to prevent what was unanimously agreed upon in Parliament by all parties.
This clearly shows that the PN Government is afraid of the voice of the youth. Their action today must not be forgotten when we walk up to the ballot box in the upcoming general election.
Dr. Kelvin Yii
MP for Bandar Kuching