SHAH ALAM – PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad acknowledged that the party’s alliance with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has ruffled the feathers of many members.
In his keynote speech at the PKR Youth congress on Saturday, Nik Nazmi said it was a good opportunity for the party to show the former premier how decisions can be made in consensus.
“However, I am confident that the politics of change demands many compromises,” he said at the Ideal Convention Centre here.
Nik Nazmi said that there is no leader who holds absolute power.
“Now, we have the opportunity to show Dr Mahathir that complicated, though principled negotiation should be conducted before we make a decision together,” he said.
Nik Nazmi also said that PKR Youth supports the call to reduce Malaysia’s voting age from 21 to 18 years of age.
He said the wing was had thrown its support behind #Undi18, a youth initiative lobbying to drop the voting age via the online petition website change.org.
“This has become the practice of many progressive democracies. In Indonesia, the eligible age is 17 years.
“It is time for the Federal Constitution to be amended to set the eligible age to vote to be consistent with the age of majority as define in the law, that is 18 years,” he said.
Nik Nazmi also warned against the use of racial and religious rhetoric in politics.
He added that the trend of using such rhetoric was not restricted to Malaysia, giving the example of the recent gubernatorial elections in Indonesia, where Muslim candidate Anies Baswedan trumped incumbent Chinese Christian Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok.
“That victory was encouraged by a campaign that made use of racial and religious rhetoric. On top of this was the shocking judgement made by the courts,” said Nik Nazmi, referring to Ahok’s blasphemy trial that saw him sentenced to jail for two years.
Speaking on policies to address the financial woes of Malaysians, Nik Nazmi said measures to aid the poor must transcend race.
“What is important is that the aid is received by those who really need it,” he added.