The right to vote is a citizen’s most powerful and sacred right. For the youth, being given a chance to be a part of the decision-making that affects their future is an empowering experience.

In 2019, Malaysia’s parliament agreed to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, a move that was supposed to be implemented by July this year. However, a few days ago, it was announced that this will be delayed and pushed to September 2022 instead. This led to speculation about an impending general election, which many think will be called once Malaysia’s state of emergency is lifted in August. In response, Malaysian youths marched to parliament in protest on the 27th of March.

On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Lim Wei Jiet, one of the co-founders of the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance, Malaysia’s first youth-driven political party, about their thoughts on this voting age controversy, the challenges the party has faced in getting registered, and the political climate for young politicians in Malaysia.

Kelly Anissa

Kelly Anissa is a journalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is New Naratif’s Bahasa Melayu/Malaysia Editor. Previously, Kelly worked as a producer and presenter at BFM 89.9, a Malaysian radio station for current affairs. She has done work on a wide range of areas, covering environmental issues, policy and legal reforms in Malaysia, regional politics and health journalism. Outside of work, Kelly works on short films. You can reach her at

Deborah Germaine Augustin

Deborah Germaine Augustin is a Malaysian writer and researcher. Previously, she worked as a Parliamentary Assistant for the MP of Kelana Jaya. She is currently working on a cross-genre chapbook about immigration in the United States. She is New Naratif's Member Engagement Coordinator. Reach her at