KUALA LUMPUR — July 16, 2019: The Dewan Rakyat created history today by passing an amendment to the federal Constitution to lower the voting age from 21 years to 18 with more than a two-thirds majority garnered through bipartisanship, with all 211 MPs present in favour of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill.
More than 60 MPs spoke during the debate, which went on for six hours after Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had tabled it for second reading at noon.
Besides lowering the voting age, the bill seeks to lower, also from 21 to 18, the eligible age to contest elections and serve as MPs and state assemblymen, as well as automatic registration as voters.
To enable the lowering of the age limit for state election candidates, state governments have to make amendments to the relevant provision in their respective state constitutions.
Mahathir said the government welcomed the proposal by the opposition that youths aged 18 not only be allowed to vote but also be permitted to contest in elections.
The government expects some 7.8 million new voters to be entered into the electoral rolls by 2023, raising by more than 50 per cent to 22.7 million the total number of voters that year, up from the 14.9 million for the 14th general electiona last year — Bernama