This week, Pakatan Harapan had given the green light in their support of the proposal to reduce the voting age from 21 years old to 18 years old, as reported by The Star. The proposal was tabled by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman recently.
The Bill will be put to a vote on July 16 on whether the change will be made. For this to happen, there needs to be a majority in favour of the amendment — that means a two-thirds majority of 148 votes in the House.
As a millennial, I’m all for this change because an 18 year old, while very young, is also old enough to think. It’s the age when we decide on our pre-university courses, and that one to two years of foundation and introductory courses shape what we eventually major in when we go to university.
It’s that year of exploration, of dabbling in our interests, whether academically or non-academically. It’s the beginning of finding our true identities and what we believe in — personally, and not based on what we’ve been exposed to most of our early years.
Makes us independent thinkers from an early age
In many countries, the legal voting age is 18 years old, or even as young as 16 years old. And there’s a reason for this. Something happens at around that age — we begin to question things more. A curiosity builds, and while it may not necessarily be in a political sense, you’re also yearning to make your own decisions in life.
Well, being able to vote is one way to practice this step into independence. And I think it’s necessary. With a stronger sense of independent thinking, the youth will be (or want to be) more aware of what’s going on in their surroundings–local politics may be one of them.
Creates more awareness on local politics
So personally, I think it’s okay to not be interested in politics, there’s no right or wrong in that. But I do think that wanting your country to grow, to develop into a place you’d want your families to thrive in, to encourage that sense of openness amongst people and to celebrate where we grew up in, is such a beautiful, invaluable thing.
Wanting to contribute, to do our part to make our home country a place we’re proud to even talk about, is worth the effort. Sure, our government is far from perfect, and there’s a lot of work to do, but there’s so much uniqueness about our country to love.
Being able to vote at 18 means that young people will become more aware of what goes on in Parliament and the decision-making processes. And I think this can create a sense of connectedness to our country for the youth. It’s when we’re faced with a voting decision that’s all up to us, that we need to have an opinion in some way. Whether or not it’s a strong opinion, it’s that room to have one that makes all the difference and builds character.
A diversity in opinion
Having a wider age group be able to vote can also give a diversity in the votes that people make. It’s not difficult to see how differently younger and older generations think, you can see that within your own family. While older generations have the many years of life experience under their belts, the younger generation have a contemporary way of thinking.
Neither one is better or worse, but that variety in thought processes and decision-making can be good for our country, especially when it comes to choosing a ruling coalition.
learning the right to vote
If anything, I think having more younger people be able to vote is great just for the reason of instilling the importance of making your voice heard. I think exercising your right to vote is far better than not voting at all. That decision to not have an opinion is far worse. Being a citizen of a country means you’re one of its people, its rakyat and it’s essentially your responsibility to vote.
It’s about being proud of where you came from, or where you live, and being a part of the move in making your country better and better.