Undi18, automatic voter registration by July 2021

Both EC and JPN task force committee are working closely in the preparation to implement the automatic voter registration and other related matters

pic by TMR FILE

THE 18-year-old voting age (Undi18) and automatic voter registration will be implemented by July next year, said de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.

In a written Parliamentary reply on Monday, he said the Election Commission (EC) is working with the National Registration Department (JPN) through both parties’ task force committee to implement the automatic voter registration and other related matters.

“The EC expects all preparations that are being acted upon to be completed within 18 to 24 months from the date of approval by the Senate on July 25, 2019.

“The implementation date is expected to be at the latest, July 2021,” he said.

He was responding to Datuk Johari Abdul’s (PKR-Sungai Petani) query on the progress of the automatic voter registration and enforcement of the 18-year-old voting age as well as constraints faced by the EC to speed up the implementation of both.

The EC has been in the process of implementing these after the amendment of Article 119(4) of the Federal Constitution during the second meeting of the 14th Parliament.

The Dewan Rakyat last year approved amendments to the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 and to allow voters to be automatically registered.

“The preparations being implemented by the EC include amendments to the Election Regulations (Registration of Voters) 2002 and other relevant laws, preparation of standard operating procedures and systems as well as infrastructure for the automatic voters’ registration,” he said.

Takiyuddin added that the EC held several sessions with the management of government departments and agencies including the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit, Home Affairs Ministry, JPN, Malaysian Prisons Department, Office of the Chief Registrar of Courts, Health Ministry, Malaysian Armed Forces, and the Royal Malaysian Police.

Former EC chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun previously said the EC would also look into matters such as the cost of upcoming elections, sufficient election facilities to ensure electorate comfort, and requirement of additional EC human resources and election personnel.

Furthermore, Azhar said the EC must study new voting centres that need to be established to accommodate increased voters in the next election and to determine the localities of the new voters.

The former government estimated that 7.8 million new voters would be added to the electoral roll by 2023.

It also estimated that the number of registered voters would reach 22.7 million in 2023, compared to 14.9 million in the 14th General Election.