The proposal to amend the Federal Constitution to lower Malaysia’s minimum voting age to 18 years was passed by the Dewan Rakyat last week on July 16.
Nevertheless, it was not a walk in the park to amend the Federal Constitution as a minimum of two-thirds majority was required. Plus, there were lengthy debates on the proposal to lower Malaysia’s minimum voting age. Ultimately, the amendment was official after 211 out of the 222 parliamentary members voted ‘yes’. The remaining 11 MPs were absent.
However, the lowering of the nation’s minimum voting age was not the only changes made as Malaysians who turned 18 will be automatically registered as a voter. Besides that, an 18-year-old is also eligible to stand as an election candidate.
Officially, the amendment was called Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019, but it is more commonly known as Undi 18 Bill.
The term “Undi18” was popularized by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq. About a week prior to the amendment (July 8), Syed Saddiq used the hashtag, #undi18, to create awareness on the issue.
Then, he tweeted that both the government and the opposition have discussed and agreed on the proposed idea of lowering the voting age.
Undi18 is also an activist group co-founded by Tharma Pillai and Qyira Yusri which aims to lower Malaysia’s voting age. Surprisingly, Tharma was distanced from the cluster of #undi18 as he did not use the hashtag in his tweets.
Despite that, the hashtag usage managed to attract some supporters on Twitter. Notably, @maverick_97 praised Syed Saddiq and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad for living up to the promise made in the Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto prior to GE-14.
The network of #Undi18 further expanded on the day the bill passed the Dewan Rakyat (July 16). It further spawned another hashtag variation known as #undilapanbelas.
This time, Tharma’s cluster dramatically expanded with the surge of retweets, likes and mentions. Hence, there were numerous accounts in the network connecting Tharma, Syed Saddiq and #undi18.
Tharma and Qyira were at the Dewan Rakyat along with Syed Saddiq to celebrate the passing of Undi 18 Bill.
Meanwhile, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil formed a cluster of his own. He shared his old tweets from 2009, showcasing that he has been fighting for the cause for the past 10 years. Thus, he shared his happiness when the Undi 18 Bill passed the parliament.
Just like during the passing of Undi 18 Bill in the parliament, the majority of Twitter users are supportive towards the government’s effort in lowering the nation’s voting age to 18 years.