Current Affairs, National

The Sarawak State Election must only be held after Undi18 and Automatic Voter Registration is implemented

Media statement by MP for Bandar Kuching, Dr Kelvin Lee Yee Wuen on 18 October 2021:

 

Any attempts to hold the Sarawak State Election early, before the implementation of Undi18 and Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) that are supposed to take place before 31 December 2021 is a direct act of “voter suppression” and an attempt to suppress the voices of the youth in taking an active role in determining the future direction of Sarawak and our country as a whole. 

As currently Sarawak is still under the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021, which extends our period of Emergency until February 2022, there is no justifiable reason that the State Election should be held earlier especially in view of the current Covid-19 situation in the state. 

 
Malay Mail article screenshot of PBB Vice Chairman’s statement on the Sarawak State Election.
 

The main focus now is to control and manage the Covid-19 situation in the state, especially to improve further certain important health parameters including our ICU beds utilisation, reduce deaths and Brought In Death (BID), as well as improve our contact tracing and quick isolation abilities. 

 

With the implementation of Undi18 and AVR, we are looking at more than 1.9 million eligible voters who would be able to take part in determining the political future of Sarawak. 

 

In my constituency of Bandar Kuching alone, we are looking at an additional 2,9542 new voters:

 
  • 4,433 in Padungan
  • 8,745 in Pending
  • 16,364 in Batu Lintang
 

There is a surge in the number of voters under the Undi18 list because not only the voters above 18 years old are now eligible to vote, but because all eligible voters are automatically registered as voters. 

This is something that I strongly welcome, especially to see more young people be part of our democratic process as we push for a more progressive, more constructive, and more participatory politics as we welcome our youth into the arena.

 
MP for Bandar Kuching, Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen.
 

For a long time, youth in Malaysia are alienated from the political process. In 1971, the then Barisan Nasional government introduced the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) which, among others, banned students from taking part in politics. 

That is why the Undi18 amendments under the PH government was a historic moment and a game changer, including enabling the youths to independently think and act on issues about their life, surroundings, and future. 

That is why we must not take a step back. Taking the voices of the youth for granted and denying them the rights to vote is an outright regressive move.  

 

Youth empowerment must be central to the government’s agenda, and they must embody the fact that the youth are not just the leaders of our future but are also the leaders of today.

 

The harder you try to silence the youth, the louder they will fight back.

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