Penangguhan Undi18 umpama rompakan di siang hari (Malay/English)

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[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (Rose) menolak sekeras-kerasnya keputusan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) yang menangguhkan pelaksanaan Undi 18 dan pendaftaran pengundi secara automatik kepada September 2022.

Polisi tersebut seharusnya dilaksanakan pada Julai 2021.

Meletakkan alasan penundaan kepada perintah kawalan pergerakan (PKP) tidak dapat diterima dan tidak masuk akal. SPR boleh mendapatkan maklumat pengundi yang sedia ada dalam database Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara dan agensi kerajaan yang lain.

Perkara ini bukannya mengenai jumlah pemilih dalam kumpulan umur 18-20 tahun yang, menurut ketua SPR, adalah 1.2 juta. Ini mengenai hak mereka untuk memilih pemimpin-pemimpin negara ini.

Kesan atau impak bagi kita di Sarawak ialah belia Sarawak dalam kategori umur ini tidak dapat memilih ahli dewan undangan negeri dan kerajaan negeri baru dalam pilihan raya negeri akan datang, yang dijangka akan diadakan sebaik sahaja perintah darurat berakhir pada 1 Ogos 2021. Rose menganggarkan kira-kira 135,000 belia Sarawak dirampas hak untuk memilih dalam pilihan raya negeri akan datang berikutan penangguhan pelaksanaan Undi18 dan pendaftaran pengundi automatik ini sehingga 20 September 2022.

Ini juga membuat pindaan Perlembagaan Sarawak November lalu sebagai satu ejekan. Suatu usul untuk meminda perlembagaan telah diluluskan oleh Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak November lalu, iaitu menurunkan usia calon yang bertanding dalam pilihan raya negeri dari 21 ke 18. Kini, hanya 1.3% (anggaran) dari keseluruhan ahli dewan negeri Sarawak berumur 40 tahun ke bawah.

Sebelum pengumuman tersebut, tiada kenyataan dikeluarkan oleh SPR tentang perubahan tarikh polisi ini dilaksanakan selain daripada Julai 2021 berikutan pindaan Fasa 119 Perlembagaan Persekutuan (disokong oleh 211 ahli parlimen). Malah, tiada perubahan kenyataan meskipun pertukaran kerajaan pada Mac 2020.

Tarikh Julai 2021 ini disahkan oleh menteri undang-undang de facto, Takiyuddin Hassan, dalam sidang Parlimen November 2020 yang lalu. Timbalan pengerusi SPR Azmi Sharom, seperti yang dilaporkan (The Straits Times, 10 Mac 2021), berkata bahawa “SPR berada di landasan yang tepat dalam memastikan sistem pendaftaran pengundi automatik dan menurunkan usia pengundian menjadi 18 akan siap menjelang Julai 2021”.

READ MORE:  Undi18, penangguhan dan isu berkaitan

Pada bulan September 2019 SPR juga menyatakan bahawa ia memerlukan antara 18-24 bulan untuk pelaksanaan pendaftaran pengundi automatik dan Undi18. Menjelang September 2022, sudah 36 bulan akan berlalu dan pilihan raya umum akan datang mungkin sudah diadakan.

Oleh itu, SPR mesti menjelaskan mengapa mereka kini memerlukan 36 bulan untuk pelaksanaan polisi ini. Mengapa buat pusingan-U secara tiba-tiba?

Keadaan ini tidak akan dapat menghilangkan persepsi masyarakat bahawa mereka sengaja menunda Undi18 dan pendaftaran pengundi automatik untuk kepentingan badan eksekutif atau parti pemerintah. Jelas bahawa Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya tidak bebas dan berada dibawah pengaruh badan eksekutif. Oleh itu, kami bersetuju dengan gesaan Bersih 2.0 agar pengerusi SPR Abdul Ghani Salleh segera meletakkan jawatan.

Jadi, kami menyeru kepada semua anak muda Sarawak yang berumur 21 ke atas untuk mendaftar diri sebagai pemilih di pejabat pos terdekat atau melalui pendaftaran dalam talian SPR. Orang ramai boleh mendapatkan lebih banyak maklumat mengenai soalan lazim di laman web kami.

English version

Right to vote for 18-year-olds: Illusive dream or daylight robbery?

Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (Rose) takes great objections to the abrupt and incomprehensible decision of the Election Commission to postpone to September 2022 the implementation of the lowering of the voting age to 18 and of the automatic voter registration registration system from the previously announced date of July 2021.

To pin the reason for the delay in the implementation date on the movement control orders is unacceptable and ludicrous since the data streamlining work that may be necessary for the Election Commission to do is all available from the database of the National Registration Department and other agencies.

READ MORE:  Backlash against Undi18 postponement

It is really not about the number of voters in the 18-20 age group, which, according to the Election Commission chair, is 1.2 million. It is about their right to play a part in choosing the leaders of this country.

The immediate effect or impact for us in Sarawak is that Sarawakian youths in this age category are immediately excluded from the right to vote or to choose their state assembly members and their new state government in the coming state election, widely expected to be held just after emergency order ends on 1 August 2021. Rose estimates that some 135,000 Sarawakian youths have lost the right to vote in the coming state election with the delay in lowering the voting age to 18 and the implementation of the automatic voter registration system to Sept 2022.

It also makes a mockery of the constitutional amendment passed by the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly last November to lower the age of candidates running for state elections from 21 to 18. As it is, only a mere and shameful 1.3% (approximately) of the Sarawak state assembly members are in the 40-and-below age group.

Prior to the recent announcement, there had been no indication, despite the change of government in March 2020, that the amendment to Article 119 of the Federal Constitution (passed by a unanimous yes vote of 211 parliamentarians) in July 2019 would be implemented by any other time other than July 2021.

This date was affirmed by the new de facto law minister, Takiyuddin Hassan, in the November 2020 parliamentary sitting. Election Commission deputy chair Azmi Sharom was quoted (The Straits Times, 10 March 2021) as saying that “the EC is on track in ensuring the system for AVR and lowering the voting age to 18 will be ready by July 2021”.

READ MORE:  Why it’s important to lower the voting age from 21 to 18

In September 2019, the Election Commission also stated that it needed between 18-24 months for the implementation of automatic voter registration and lower voting age.

By September 2022, it would be 36 months and the next general election might already be over.

The Election Commission must therefore explain why they now need 36 months for the implementation and why it made a sudden U-turn? Unless it does so, it will not be able to rid itself of the public perception that it is deliberately delaying the lowering of the voting age to 18 and automatic voter registration at the behest of the executive or ruling parties and that the Election Commission is not independent and free from executive influence. We therefore agree with Bersih 2.0’s call for Election Commission chair Abdul Ghani Salleh to resign.

We repeat the call to all young Sarawakians aged 21 and above to get yourselves registered as a voter at the nearest post office or through online registration. Members of the public can get more information on frequently asked questions on our website.

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