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LETTER | Undi18: How much longer do we have to wait?

LETTER | On April 2, 18 youths filed a judicial review against the Malaysian prime minister, the government and the Election Commission (EC). The primary reason we have resorted to legal means is the delay in the implementation of the Undi18 bill. 

We made this decision, not for the sake of challenging the authorities or anything of the sort, but we want our rights as legal Malaysian adults. 

Although we have just been granted leave to proceed with our judicial review, we are far from the end of this battle. There are only a few days left until July 2021, yet there has been little to no news or updates from the authorities regarding Undi18.

We acknowledge that we would be faced with many adversaries and challenges going into this lawsuit. Whatever the consequences may be — being barred from pursuing tertiary education, having our scholarship applications rejected, or encountering difficulties getting hired — we are ready to bear it. 

Long story short, this was not an easy decision to make. This leads us to wonder what might be going on in the prime minister's, government's and the EC’s minds - would they be angered? Delighted? Perhaps they are scheming to find a way to prevent us from voting during the next election?

To provide some clarity on the judicial review, this isn’t some political ploy to demean the government. We aren’t financed by a sole funder and we do not represent any political party. 

Alongside Persatuan Pengundi Muda (Undi18), we have been selling T-shirts and doing fundraising to cover our legal costs. We are doing all this just to fight for our constitutional right to play our part in our country’s democracy — to vote. 

Additionally, we have been working tirelessly to come up with solutions to access rural youths that might not have been exposed previously to advocacy or voter education. 

Each and every one of us will do our very best to ensure that the youths are ready to enter the polling booths. We sincerely hope the government recognises that voting is a right deserved by young people nationwide to determine our country’s future.

The lack of laptops and technological support, the quality of our education, the minimum wages for internships, who would be proficient on such issues if not us? We have been anxiously waiting, and are still waiting, for Parliament to reconvene to debate on the delay of the lowering of the voting age. 

Why can’t the government stick to its promises? Why are they using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse when they were the ones that held elections in Sabah when the number of positive Covid-19 cases were skyrocketing? 

These are questions that we want to be answered immediately. Obstructing the reopening of Parliament and delaying the implementation of a bill that was passed unanimously two years ago is a complete mockery of our country’s democracy.

The youths will not stand for this. 

The Undi18 bill must be implemented at once so that millions of 18 to 20-year-olds nationwide are granted their right to vote.


The writers are youth activists and Undi18 lawsuit applicants.

The views expressed here are those of the authors/contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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