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PBS agrees with Federal Constitutional amendments on reducing voter's age but …

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16, 2019:

Parti Bersatu Sabah today voted 'yes' to reducing the voters age to 18 from 21, but reminded the august House that the provision for automatic registration must be treated with care.

Its President Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the conditional vote in favour of the proposed amendments was made because PBS wants the electoral rolls, especially in Sabah, must first be cleaned up.

"We are in favour of the proposed amendments to the Federal Constitution to reduce the voting age from 21 to 18, be automatically registered as voters and stand as candidates for general election when they reach the age.

"The three recommendations are actually not new. They are also contained in the recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee which I chaired in 2011 on improving the electoral system where some 22 recommendations were adopted by Parliament," said the Kota Marudu Member of Parliament in his debate speech.

He noted that PBS is fully supportive of reducing the voting age from 21  to 18, and allowing them to be election candidates, adding that these proposals were consistent with the Party's stand.

"Our party stand believe that youths should be given more opportunities to participate in national political decision-making and democratic responsibilities.

"However, provision for automatic registration must be treated with care. The Select Committee in 2011 recommended that among the Election Commission's (EC) main tasks was to clean up the electoral rolls first, especially in the case of Sabah.

"For Sabah, it is known publicly that the electoral rolls are infiltrated by illegal immigrants and questionable voters and efforts must continue to clean up the rolls," he explained.

Ongkili said automatic registration for youths in Sabah cannot be treated the same way as in other states, as the situation is different.

"Automatic registration in Sabah should only be implemented after we are convinced the electoral rolls are accepted as clean. 

"So either the EC exempts Sabah from automatic registration for a period until the rolls are cleaned up, or a pre-qualification committee should be formed to scrutinise all upcoming 18-year-olds before being automatically registered as voters," he suggested.

In this way, he added, children of illegal immigrants and other questionable citizens can be screened out and prevented from registering as voters. 

"We do not want illegals to decide through the ballot box who will be the next Prime  Minister, or Chief Minister, or our elected leaders in Legislative Houses.

"Only the rightful citizens can have such privilege and decide the future of our nation," he said.

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