KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — The 2022 constitutional amendment, which among others seeks to provide for the non-application of Article 119 to the Malay Rulers concerning voter registration was passed by the Dewan Rakyat today with the support of more than two-thirds of Members of Parliament (MPs).
The Bill was tabled by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and was unanimously passed by 178 MPs, while 42 MPs were absent.
Earlier, during the winding-up debate on the Bill, Wan Junaidi said the amendment was a follow up to the implementation of voting age qualification that was reduced from 21 to 18 and automatic voter registration.
He said with the Bill, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the power to make exemptions to the Ruler and his consort, the Yang Dipertua Negeri and his consort, heirs apparent, alternate heirs and other heirs of a Ruler and their consorts from being registered as a voter automatically to remain neutral and not favouring any political party.
“Indeed I strongly agree that the Rulers must be neutral in all aspects, which is the spirit and the reality of this Bill.
“In such a situation, we provide a space and an opportunity for the Istana to be neutral in all angles and the question whether rulers can vote or not, does not arise,” he said.
However, the choice to vote or not to vote is subject to the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Rulers, he added.
A total of 14 MPs from the government as well as opposition blocs debated the Bill and gave their unanimous support.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Wan Junaidi said the Bill would be tabled in Dewan Negara next week, adding that a complete list of exemptions for each state would be put forward through an order which would be gazetted after obtaining the consent of the Conference of Rulers.
The Constitution Act (Amendment) 2019 stipulates, among others, requires a citizen who reaches the age of 18 and is eligible to vote to be automatically registered as a voter by the Election Commission.
The minimum age for voting for Malaysians was lowered to 18 after the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed by Dewan Rakyat on July 16, 2019, and Dewan Negara on July 25 of the same year.