By Lim Kit Siang
DATUK Abdul Ghani Salleh should resign as Elections Commission (EC) chairman and give way to a new person who can fulfil Parliament’s mandate to ensure Malaysians over the age of 18 can vote in the next general election.
The EC announcement yesterday that Malaysians above 18 years of age will likely not be able to vote in the next general election is a fundamental breach of Parliament’s mandate, which unanimously amended the Federal Constitution in July 2019 to allow those above 18 years to vote, as well to allow for automatic voter registration.
These constitutional amendments were gazetted on Sept 10, 2019.
It is not only a fundamental violation of Parliament’s mandate to lower the voting age but it is an example of EC’s incompetence and ineptitude that it could not ensure that Malaysians of the minimum age could cast their vote in the next general election after it had been passed by Parliament for more than two years.
The decision of the EC to postpone the implementation of Undi18, including automatic voter registration to Sept 1 next year, is completely unacceptable and Ghani would be guilty of a dismissal offence if Parliament had not been suspended.
Nonetheless, Ghani should have the integrity and honour by quitting his post since he cannot comply with our Parliament’s commitment under Undi18.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law), Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan had told Parliament in November last year that Undi18 will be implemented by July this year.
He also said that the EC was working with the National Registration Department (NRD) through both parties’ task force committee to make it happen.
All preparations will be completed within 18 to 24 months, from the date of approval, by the Senate on July 25, 2019.
So, why then the sudden announcement by Ghani to postpone the implementation of Undi18, including automatic voter registration to Sept 1 of next year?
I had said in July 2019 that the unanimous constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18 years was a “historic” occasion and “a wish come true” for me, 48 years after me first raising the issue in Parliament on Human Rights Day, on Dec 10, 1971.
Now we have a 50-year betrayal, rendering our youths unable to cast their vote in the next general election.
I said yesterday that Malaysia had become almost a ‘kakistocracy’ when the Cabinet was not bothered about the country’s performance in the COVID-19 or unconcerned about corruption and lack of professionalism in the police force.
M’sians should unite against transgressions
There has recently been a deluge of developments which showed that Malaysia is on a trajectory towards a kakistocracy such as:
- Suspension of Parliament and a Cabinet which is prepared to disregard the clear advice of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that Parliament can convene during the Emergency proclaimed on Jan 11;
- The harsh, disproportionate, unconscionable and unjust compound fine of RM10,000 for individuals and RM50,000 for companies for breach of the movement control order and breach of COVID-19 SOPs;
- The “Dua Darjat” disease during the pandemic;
- The collapse of public trust and confidence in the governance of the country;
- Failure to inform the former Cabinet of a terrorist threat against senior government officials including the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Religious Affairs Minister Datuk Mujahid Yusuf Rawa and former Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas before the Sheraton Move in January 2020;
- The International Labour Organisation (ILO) report that Putrajaya had once again failed to respond to its concerns, the latest being the ILO’s 2021 Report on the Application of International Labour Standards released on Feb 15 and which classified Malaysia as one of the countries that had committed a “serious failure to submit” a response to its requests – four so far;
- Lack of transparency in the multi-billion-ringgit Goldman Sachs settlement to dispel claims that Putrajaya had paid hefty legal fees so that they could be kicked back to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu);
- Refusal to register new political parties, Pejuang and Muda.
And now, the decision to violate the Parliamentary mandate to allow Malaysians above 18 years age to vote in the next general election.
Can Malaysians take a united stand against kakistocracy as they have taken a united stand against kleptocracy? – March 26, 2021
Lim Kit Siang is the MP for Iskandar Puteri
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.