Sunday, June 20, 2021

AGC objects to youths’ challenge over delay in Undi 18

Court fixes May 6 to hear the objection.

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The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has objected to the application for leave by 18 Malaysian youths to challenge the government’s action in delaying the implementation of Undi 18, a move to lower the voting age to 18, and enabling automatic voter registration (AVR).

The youths had on behalf of the Undi 18 movement filed a judicial review application naming Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the government and the Election Commission (EC) as respondents.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, representing the AGC, told reporters that they had filed a preliminary objection today on grounds that the application brought by the 18 youths was frivolous, vexatious and premature at this stage as no action had been taken on the matter.

Another senior federal council, Azizan Md Arshad, said the necessary law and regulations need to be amended before the AVR can be enforced.

“This is because, with the constitutional amendment, there is no longer any application as AVR kicks in. It is the argument of the applicants that the enforcement and implementation of Section 3(a) and Section 3(b) of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019 can be done separately.

“However, we will submit that the enforcement and implementation of the constitutional amendments cannot be done in isolation and have to be done together. The enforcement and application of AVR is the reverse effect of application for registration by the qualified person,” he said, adding that the court had fixed May 6 to hear the objection raised by the AGC.

The 18 youths’ counsel, Ambiga Sreenevasan, said today was fixed to hear the leave application for the judicial review by her clients before High Court judge Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid.

However, she said they received the AGC’s submissions objecting to the judicial review application and need time to respond to that matter.

“So the court adjourned the hearing today and fixed May 6 to hear the AGC’s objection and the leave application,” she said.

On April 2, the youths filed their legal action seeking several court orders arising from the respondents’ delay in the implementation of Undi 18.

In the application, the youths sought a declaration that the government’s action to delay the enforcement of lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 was irrational, illegal, disproportionate and a form of voter suppression.

The applicants also sought a declaration that those aged 18 to 20 have a legitimate expectation that they will have the right to vote on or before July 2021.

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