Malaysia's Senate passes Bill to lower voting age to 18, allows automatic voter registration

The constitutional amendment was passed in the Upper House or Senate (Dewan Negara) with a majority of 47 votes, from the total of 68 senators.
The constitutional amendment was passed in the Upper House or Senate (Dewan Negara) with a majority of 47 votes, from the total of 68 senators.PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian Senate on Thursday (July 25) passed a Bill to amend the country's Constitution to lower the voting age to 18.

This followed approval of the Bill nine days earlier, on July 16, by lawmakers in the country's Lower House, or Dewan Rakyat.

The previous minimum voting age was 21.

The constitutional amendment was passed in the Upper House or Senate (Dewan Negara) with a majority of 47 votes, from the total of 68 senators.

This was two more than the minimum two-thirds support, or 45, needed to make changes to the federal Constitution, Malaysiakini news report said on Thursday.

Senate president S. Vigneswaran said 20 senators were absent from the sitting.

The Bill that was passed also allows automatic voter registration, and the lowering of the minimum age for elected representatives to 18. This means a future Member of Parliament or a state assemblyman could be a teenager.

Malaysia's de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong said he expected 18-year-old voters to be included in the electoral roll by next year, together with the implementation of automatic voter registration, Malaysiakini said.