From a Student Movement to a Constitutional Amendment
Undi18 is a Malaysian youth movement that successfully advocated for the amendment of Article 119(1) of the Federal Constitution to reduce the minimum voting age in Malaysia from 21 to 18 years old. We started off as a student movement in 2016, under the umbrella of the Malaysian Students’ Global Alliance. This gave us access to numerous Malaysian student/youth organizations across the world and throughout Malaysia. We officially launched with a memorandum to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in April 2017.
In July 2019, UNDI18 succesfully advocated for the passage of the historic Constitutional Amendment to lower the voting age in Malaysia. It was the first time in history where a Constitutional Amendment received 100% of votes in the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.
However, In March 2021, the Perikatan Nasional government announced the postponement of the implementation of the new minimum voting age from September 2022, instead of the originally set timeline, which was by July 2021.
The first Mana Undi Kami (meaning Where Are Our Votes in Malay) protest took place on 27 March 2021 in response to the delays to the implementation of the constitutional amendment passed in 2019 as well as the suspension of Parliament by Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin. Protestors assembled at Jalan Parlimen with more than 200 people assembling, including representatives from Malaysian political parties and civil society.
UNDI18 led two applications of judicial review by a group of 18 Malaysian youths in Kuala Lumpur and 5 youths in Kuching at the Kuala Lumpur and Kuching High Courts, respectively, to challenge the government’s action in postponing the implementation of the constitutional amendment.
On 3 September 2022, the Kuching High Court declared the delays in implementation of the constitutional amendments as “irrational and unreasonable” and issued a mandamus order compelling the Malaysian government to implement the constitutional amendments.
The government of Malaysia successfully implemented the constitutional amendment to lower the minimum age of voting and standing for elections to the Dewan Rakyat as well as to implement automatic voter registration on 15 December 2021 Throughout the years, we have organized numerous town halls, forums and public engagements to raise awareness on youth democratic representation and lowering the voting age. We have also engaged with politicians from multiple sides of the political divide, where we presented our case for the lowering of the voting age in Malaysia. We believe that youth empowerment transcends political lines. We believe that youth empowerment transcends political lines.
In July 2019, with the support of YB Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (the former Minister of Youth and Sports), we managed to advocate for a historic Constitutional Amendment to lower the voting age in Malaysia. It was the first time in history where a Constitutional Amendment received 100% of votes in the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.
Undi18 (Persatuan Pengundi Muda) is a registered National Organization under the Malaysian Registry of Societies with a registration number of PPM-008-14-27092018. We are a social enterprise focusing on voter education and youth public policy engagement.
The Undi18 Team
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