PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang says his party has no issue with the delay in implementing the minimum voting age of 18, in response to criticism of the Election Commission’s (EC) announcement yesterday.
“We agree. What is important is that we want people who are mature to choose a mature government,” he told reporters in Marang, Terengganu, after delivering his weekly pre-dawn lecture.
Hadi added that PAS was not affected by the delay in allowing those aged 18 to vote.
“If people are still immature, they could elect an immature government,” he said.
He said maturity is subjective, including the belief that a person attains maturity at the age of 18.
“Voting depends on maturity. It’s not about voting at the age of 18. There should be maturity,” he said.
Yesterday, the EC said the move to lower the voting age to 18 would likely be implemented only after Sept 1, 2022.
EC chairman Abdul Ghani Salleh said while preparations are on track, current developments and the fact that the country remains under movement restrictions due to Covid-19 had affected its plans.
Hadi said the notion that 18 is the right age to be eligible to take part in elections is derived from the Western concept of democracy, and not based on maturity.
“We cannot be influenced by the West.
“In Islam, there is such a thing called the age of maturity. One can attain maturity at the age of 16, 18, it can also happen at the age 25.
“In fact, there are people who are 40 but who have not matured,” he said.
Hadi also said he would accept Umno’s invitation to attend the party’s general assembly which begins tomorrow.
The Umno leadership is set to decide whether the party will continue working with Perikatan Nasional, the coalition of which PAS is a part.
Hadi said PAS maintains the view that there should only be one-to-one contests against Pakatan Harapan at the next polls.
He said the election was critical in order to strengthen the government’s majority.
“We want to form a strong and fair government because at the moment, the government does not have a big majority, only a simple majority. We need a big majority.
“But a big majority is not the main goal, what is important is that the government is just.
“Our strength depends on our fairness to the people,” said Hadi.