SHAH ALAM: The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) has a role in preparing students of higher learning institutions (IPT) to be dynamic and develop political acumen following the implementation of Undi18.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad said this was important because the group must have some depth of perception and understanding of the country's political development literature to prepare them as future leaders.

"In fact, with the amendment of the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) in 2019 to remove Section 15 (2) (c), students should be guided in engaging in politics while on campus as a best practice before they go out to the community.

"In an interim report on a political literacy study on IPTA students conducted by MOHE last year, the findings show political literacy among students can be further improved by strengthening fundamental elements of value, namely appreciation and implementation of existing policies and acts at the various levels," she said.

She said about 452,559 individuals or 38 per cent of the 1.2 million IPT students under the supervision of MOHE were voters aged between 18 to 20, following the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 to lower the voting age as approved by the Dewan Rakyat on July 16, 2021, which would see automatic voter registration and eligibility to contest in election lowered to 18.

She said this in her speech at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and the Election Commission (EC) as well as launch of the UiTM DNA Study Formation Report Book, here, today.

In the meantime, Noraini said the collaboration between UiTM and the EC was seen as a proactive step by the university in initiating a Voter Education Awareness Programme as voter awareness and education should be extended to other IPTs.

"In fact, I believe that with continuous efforts and cooperation students would be given exposure and preparation in knowing their rights and responsibilities as voters as this would determine the future of the country, and even to prepare them as the leaders for the next generation.

"UiTM is one of the largest institutions in Malaysia with an enrolment of 185,400 students nationwide. Of that number, 85,201 individuals or 46 per cent are between 18 to 20 years old who will be involved in the Undi 18 implementation. This number represents almost 19 per cent of the total number of students from IPTs under the MOHE," she said.

At the MoU signing, UiTM vice-chancellor Professor Dr Roziah Mohd Janor represented the university while the EC was represented by its chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh.