Johor state government has proposed to reduce the minimum age of election candidates for its state assembly seats from 21 years to 18, but the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim had not assented to the amendment.
Despite Sultan Ibrahim disagreeing with the amendment, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Johor has the right to decide on whether to reduce the minimum age of election candidates for its state assembly seats from 21 years to 18.
He said state autonomy should be respected, especially on certain matters in which the federal government has no power.
“For a state to agree or not to agree (to something), they still have the autonomy to decide based on what they want.”
“If Johor is not going to pass any law to allow the age of candidates for state assembly seats to be reduced to 18, it is their right,” he said, reported Bernama.
On 16 June, Sultan Ibrahim explained why he did not consent to the Johor State (Amendment) Enactment 2021 to reduce the minimum age of election candidates for the state assembly seats from 21 years to 18.
“On 6 January, I had not given my consent to the enactment amendment, as in my opinion, the proposal to reduce the minimum age for assemblymen is not in line with the direction of the government that wants leaders of high quality and who are knowledgeable.”
“However, I support voting rights given to individuals aged 18 and above. But to become an assemblyman, I think it’s not apt,” said the sultan.
Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi said the minimum age of election candidates to be an MP at the federal level is still at 18, and this may create confusion for Election Commission (EC), especially in a simultaneous election (state and federal election held at the same time).
“In a simultaneous election, there’s a list of candidates for Parliament and DUN (state seats), and if you have a different kind of threshold for the age, then we fear confusion among (EC) workers who are not highly trained in conducting elections.”
“EC will have to work extra to train their officers to allow the two kinds of threshold for candidates to stand for elections, especially when elections are conducted simultaneously,” he added.