Malaysian Parliament passes bill to lower voting age

Updated 17 July 2019

Malaysian Parliament passes bill to lower voting age

  • The landmark measure lowered the voting age from 21 to 18
  •  Lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties joined forces for the first time for constitutional change

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Parliament on Tuesday passed a landmark bill that lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

It marked the first time that lawmakers from the government and opposition parties were able to work together for constitutional change.

“Let us create history for Malaysia today,” said Prime Minister Mahathir Muhamad in his closing speech in Parliament.

“We may have political differences, but we can agree on the wellbeing and prosperity of Malaysians.”

The law will be called the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019. Mahathir told MPs that the amendment is evidence that the government is serious about fulfilling its election promises of lowering the voting age and “implementing automatic voters’ registration through the National Registration Department.”

The 2018 general election witnessed 14.9 million registered voters. The government hopes that the bill will increase the number of registered voters to 22.7 million by 2023.

The bill also enables Malaysians to run for the House of Representatives and the State Assembly from the age of 18 instead of 21. 

The country’s previous voting age had hindered many young people from participating in political change.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq, a millennial, described the passing of the bill as “historic.”

Cooperation between lawmakers had “significantly shaped the democratic foundation of the country for young people on a par with other democracies in the world,” he said.



S.Korea official says US-N.Korea dialogue seen starting soon

Updated 1 min 3 sec ago

S.Korea official says US-N.Korea dialogue seen starting soon

  • South Korea will hold a meeting with Japan to discuss intelligence-sharing pact
  • The agreement will expire on August 24

SEOUL: The United States and North Korea are expected to reopen denuclearization talks soon and it would “go well,” a senior South Korean official said on Thursday, boosting hopes for progress in negotiations after a prolonged stalemate.
South Korea’s deputy national security adviser Kim Hyun-chong gave his upbeat assessment after meeting with US envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun in Seoul.
“My impression was that North Korea and the United States would carry out dialogue soon, and it would go well,” Kim told reporters after the one-hour meeting, without elaborating.
Working-level talks between the United States and North Korea have yet to restart since they were stalled by the failed second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in February.
Trump and Kim met again in June at the inter-Korean border and agreed to reopen negotiations.
The South Korean official also said that South Korea’s presidential National Security Council will convene later on Thursday to review an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, that Seoul had threatened to scrap amid a spiralling diplomatic and trade spat.
The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) could expire on Saturday if either side decides not to roll it over.
According to Kim, the South Korean official, Biegun raised the issue, which has worried Washington as the accord is instrumental in three-way efforts to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
“I’ve told him we’ll carefully examine it and make a decision in a way that serves our national interest,” the South Korean deputy national security adviser said.