MCA Youth chief Nicole Wong has taken Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman to task over his comment questioning the suitability of 18-year-olds to contest in elections.
Wong labelled Abdul Rashid’s comments, that those aged 18 were not matured enough to stand as candidates as “regressive”.
“If we take age as a qualifying factor, where only those who are 35 years and above are qualified and competent to contest, then why are there rampant corruption and abuse of power happening in this arena dominated by ‘competent, mature adults’?” she asked in a statement today.
“One of the primary responsibilities of an elected representative is to give input and chart the nation’s future.
“Considering how youths themselves represent the key to the future, why can’t the youth have a say in deciding their future, and instead of having to leave it to others who do not have the same progressive mindset or who share their plights?” her statement read.
Wong further questioned the timing of Abdul Rashid statement as it came several months after the Undi 18 bill was passed in Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara to amend the Federal Constitution to lower the minimum voting and candidacy age to 18.
“Thus, the ERC chairperson’s oddly-timed rebuke and disapproval only serve to highlight the committee’s incapability to keep checks and balances on electoral reforms,” she added.
Abdul Rashid, who was a former Election Commission (EC) chairperson, had on Wednesday said 18-year-olds were too young to run in elections.
“We need elected representatives as welfare officers for the people. Youngsters are not suitable
“[...] Personally, let those aged 35 and above become candidates. Let them have commitments, have a family and hold a responsible job in society first.” he reportedly told Free Malaysia Today.
EC chairperson Azhar Azizan Harun had recently said that 18-year-olds would be able to contest in the coming Tanjung Piai by-election but could not vote.
This despite the passing of Undi 18 which also allowed for automatic voter registration.