Tommy Thomas indicated that the Election Commission should be able to put in place Undi18 — or actually enabling Malaysians aged 18 to 20 to be registered voters — as it should have enough time to carry it out before the next general elections.— File Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Tan Sri Tommy Thomas has expressed confidence that Malaysian youths aged 18 could vote by the time the 15th general election (GE15) is held, believing that such a nationwide poll would likely only happen near the end of the five-year term when fresh polls are due.
In an interview with Astro Awani’s late night show Consider This, co-host Sharaad Kuttan had asked Thomas for his views on the Undi18 initiative — which involved constitutional amendments during Pakatan Harapan’s rule — and what appears to be the current government’s alleged backpedaling or deferring of enabling younger Malaysians to be registered voters amid the prospects of an election this year.
Thomas however indicated that the Election Commission (EC) should be able to put in place Undi18 — or actually enabling Malaysians aged 18 to 20 to be registered voters — as it should have enough time to carry it out before the next general elections.
“I think to be fair, the last eight months I heard from the government, they are prepared to work the ground to have it ready for 18-year-olds. So let’s give credit to the government.
I don’t see why it cannot be done, because at this rate, I think the elections are most likely going to be towards the end of the five-year term, which will take us to two years’ time, May, June of 2023, that is enough time for the EC to do all the practical steps to achieve that, so I’m quite confident that the next election — GE15, the 18-year-olds will be able to vote,” he said.
The 14th general election was held in 2018, which means the 15th general election is only due 2023. General elections in Malaysia can however be held earlier than the five-year period if called by the prime minister.
Malaysia is now under a nationwide Emergency from January 11 until the scheduled end date of August 1, if it is not extended or ended earlier.
During this Emergency, no general election, state elections and by-elections will be held, with the aim of preventing the spread of Covid-19 infections.
The prime minister has repeatedly assured that the GE15 would be held once the Covid-19 situation has eased.