,Putrajaya has been urged to put in force constitutional amendments that would allow 18-year-olds to vote in the upcoming 15th general election.Pakatan Harapan Youth chief Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin said it would be odd if 18-year-olds can contest as candidates, but not vote."The matter of 18-year-olds voting has not (been put in force). But what is strange is that 18-year-olds can be election candidates. This is strange and unusual and shouldn't be the case," he told Malaysiakini during an interview on Tuesday.In 2019, the Dewan Rakyat unanimously supported amendments to lower the voting age as well as the age for election candidacy to 18 years.The amendments would also allow for automatic voter registration.The amendments were gazetted on Sept 10, 2019.However, then chairperson of the Election Commission Azhar Azizan Harun said that it would take time for the amendments on the voting process to be implemented.Current de facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan has said that it would be implemented by July this year at the latest.Shazni, however, said there must be continued pressure on the government to allow 18-year-olds to vote.He also questioned why the matter has yet to be put in force."I don't know what is the government's justification to delay it. Maybe they are buying time or they are not sure if 18-year-olds will support them."But we can't be selfish. This has already been agreed to by the Dewan Rakyat, we have to be serious no matter who is the government," he said.Asked how Harapan plans to win over young voters - especially those who are not familiar with the coalition's prime minister candidate Anwar Ibrahim - Shazni said the key was communication."To get them to vote in numbers, we need a communications framework or a clear offer," he said.One of Harapan Youth's focuses now is strengthening its policy committee besides strengthening its election machinery.On a broader scale, he said Harapan needs to come up with policies and offers on how to extend a "lifeline" to people who are struggling to make ends meet.He said this can include ways to increase people's disposable incomes as well as the implementation of loan moratoriums.Shazni said Harapan should also strive to field more youths and women candidates in the next general election."To bring change, we need new DNA to bring in ideas on how to fix the country."If we still retain the old faces (as candidates) especially those who are problematic, have a lot of baggage in terms of integrity and such, then we will have a hard time convincing the people, especially youths, that the democratic process is alive and well," he said.rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrShazni, who is also the Amanah Youth chief, added that Malaysia would also be lagging in joining the global community in making the shift towards younger and more gender-diverse politicians if this was not done in GE15.
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