Undi 18: Don’t Blame Young People If They Stay Away From Politics
The Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM) is a firm believer in opening up more
space for young people to participate in the country’s democratic system.
ABIM is seeing that there is no serious focus on the agenda to further expand the space
of democracy to young people, especially citizens aged 18 and above. The move to
allow Malaysians aged 18 and above to vote should be taken seriously, and its
implementation should be done immediately for the next general election as the
decision to amend Article 119 (1) (a) of the Federal Constitution has been agreed by all
Unfortunately, there are a handful of political leaders who have become cynical and are
now belittling the ability of young people to vote. These leaders are now saying such
youth are too immature. In a series of discourses and engagements related to
democracy education conducted with upper secondary school students and those aged
18 and above, ABIM found that a large majority of them are ready and mature enough
to vote for elected representatives in the next general election.
Moreover, referring to batchgeo.com, data has shown that 86 per cent of countries
around the world have lowered the voting age to 18 years. This does not include
neighboring Indonesia and East Timor, which allows those 17 and above to vote, or a
further 16 other countries which allow those 16 and above to vote.
Thus, it is a moral responsibility for those involved to expedite the Undi 18 policy as a
space for young people to play their democratic role as well as monitor government
ABIM stresses that the lack of seriousness of the authorities in implementing policies
that expand the democratic space of young people, including the cynical statements of
some political leaders, will indirectly keep young people away from politics as one of the
mechanisms to contribute to national development and prosperity.
Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz,
President, Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM)