A road map needs to be instituted to enable Malaysians reaching the age of 21 to be automatically registered as voters, said Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. He said that he was not only in favour of this but also reducing the voting age to 18.
“Though these are not possible for the next general election, nevertheless, a road map needs to be in place to realise these matters.
“To have a great decracy, we need as many people as possible to come out and vote. To achieve this, we must make it easier for the people to do so (vote),” he said at the Electoral Reform and Purification of Democracy Forum organised by the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim) and the Abim Lawyers Group (GPA) at Kolej Dar Al-Hikmah here today.
Saifuddin, who was a panel member at the forum, also suggested that legislation for referendums be instituted because this was also part of efforts for the maturing of democracy.
He said this was because the government, irrespective of which party it was from, must get the mandate directly from the people besides Parliament on big and fundamental issues.
“This can easily be done now because of the connectivity information communication technology provides. An example is e-voting,” he said.
Saifuddin, who is also the Member of Parliament for Temerloh and an Umno Supreme Council member, also took to task those who claimed that Malaysia was not democratic because the same party had been in power since Merdeka.
“Just because the Barisan Nasional never lost a general election it does not mean Malaysia is not democratic. We cannot be seeing this issue so simplistically,” he said.
The other panellists were Universiti Malaya’s social sciences faculty dean Prof Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman and Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) director Wan Mohd Firdaus Wan Fuaad.