Now that they have been given a say on who they think should form the gov’t, what do these young voters want? Read on …
According to figures from the Election Commission, a total of 21,173,638 are considered as registered voters. From this, those from the young age group form about 28% of the total number of registered voters (see chart below) whose names have automatically been registered when the bill took effect.
The automatic registration of voters came into effect late last year, following the unanimous passing of the bill to lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18, a move linked to political parties hoping to ride on support from younger Malaysians by championing issues close to the group.
Where individuals previously had to sign up to vote, automatic registration now ensures that every citizen over the age of 18 can automatically cast their ballots. Political parties are scrambling to reach them via various platforms, one of the most popular now being Tiktok.
Some critics had said that this would not necessarily increase the number of voters at the coming polls, as the additional six million people were involuntarily included in the electoral roll. Nevertheless, their names are there and it is up to the political parties to push these voters to go out and vote.
“All I want to say is, Go Out To Vote, and vote for the best party based on track record for the country,” said first-time voter, Indrani Nathan, 24.
This final year university student cannot stand to hear loud noises from the young in social media as they can be rude and belligerent at times. So she always tells them: Well, if you’re not happy, go out to vote for the government that you want. Voting on social media is just not good enough.
“My parents have never missed on voting during past elections and for the first time I will vote, too,” she stressed.
When asked which party will she vote for, she rightfully said that her vote is secret and sacred as every vote counts!
“In my opinion, GE15 will determine the stability of the government. The turnout percentage may also increase because Malaysia is already in the ENDEMIC phase and also #Undi18 (#Vote18) has been passed by Parliament. The youngsters will contribute about six million votes,” said Abdul Ghaffar, 30, working in the courier service industry.
Stable and Strong Party
Domiciled in Puchong, he is hoping that any party that will succeed in forming the government in the upcoming election is a party which is truly stable, strong, and the politicians will really work for the people, and not just give lip service during election period.
“The government that is chosen by the rakyat will need to ensure that prosperity of the nation and strengthening the economy are the priorities.
“No more bickering, no more ‘katak’ (frogs) after the election. We need Yang Berkhidmat, not just Yang Berhormat, said Abdul Ghaffar.
A KEMAS teacher who teaches Orang Asli kids in Gombak feels that as ‘orang muda’, this election is a good move, but she doesn’t think that this is the right time since the monsoon season is on its way.
“Furthermore, the economy is not very good at the moment. Sometimes it’s like the government does not think about the consequences. But then again, they are the government, they have all the information. I truly hope the Election will turn out to be the ‘best’ decision made by the government of the day.
“I also feel that the political party should give chances to the younger generation politicians. Only then they will gain experience, wisdom and hope that those who will be chosen will think more about the people and the nation,” said Echa (not her real name), who hails from Labuan, Sabah.
According to a Digital Content Provider, Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi, housing is a big issue as many youths fear that with the minimum wage as it is, they cannot afford to own their first home. Many Malaysians prefer a system like the HDB in Singapore or Gemeindebau in Austria.
“Malaysian youths care a lot about whether the government would actually do more to combat floods especially in light of last year’s massive flash floods. Many rural youths worry about the government’s refusal to care more about previous floods happening in rural areas, while urban youths see the government’s lack of interest in fighting climate change resulted in massive floods now entering cities.
“In addition, Malaysian youths want more public transport and less reliant on individual automobiles. Also, more incentives to refocus city and rural development into one that favours public transport, smaller vehicles and pedestrianisation,” added Taufiq. See this link:
In addition, Taufiq, who is voting in PRU15 for the second time cautioned that while he is not a member of the LGBTQ+ communities, he can see that Malaysian youths are now more accepting of these communities and many want the government to focus more on actual issues facing communities (like floods and economy) rather than using LGBTQ people as wedge issues.”
Meanwhile, according to lawyer Ash Othman who has two offsprings in University who will be voting for the first time, he believes they will vote for Barisan Nasional.
“The all hope that what goodies PM6 Najib Razak extended to the youths will be restored. Life is so expensive now. My kids said that a lot of Malays are going through really tough times. No loans or scholarships while my eldest only secured a Mara loan in her third year, i.e after Ismail Sabri became the PM. During PH time, all the benefits were removed.”
Benefits for the Young
His daughter, Amirah Zahirah is 22 years old now and during Najib’s term in office, she received the following benefits as a university student: RM200 Book Vouchers, E-belia where the students can withdraw cash (now with e-pemula they cannot withdraw cash, so troublesome).
“PM6 had helped a lot of the B40s, now even the T20s are feeling the pinch. Food is so expensive in the campus. During DSN’s time, there were job opportunities everywhere while we only have uncertainties now,” said Ash who spoke on behalf of his daughter who is a final year student at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP).
As for first-time voter, Syed Mohamad Hafizulamin Bin Syed Abdul Hamid, the country has to show growth with linkages to other developed countries in terms of economy and technology.
“In this GE15, if possible, the elected government should carefully think about how to help those in the lower rung of society to upgrade their level of income, because Malaysians now are feeling it badly about the high cost of goods which do not commensurate with their income level.
“I am not talking here about just dishing out aid and handouts, perhaps more training programmes, seminars where they can learn to enhance their skillsets and perhaps earn an extra income,” said this 21 year old foreman with a diploma in automative engineering.
“For the young people, while there are many who wish to continue their studies in the universities and colleges after leaving school, there are also those who prefer to immediately start working because of family commitments and such – some working part-time, others full-time and there are even those doing two or three jobs at the same time. So improving their skills with the proper training and support would be a great boost to them,” said Syed Mohamad who is of the opinion that the only party that can help towards that realisation is perhaps BN.
Smooth Voting Process
Another first-time voter, Syarifah Nur Hidayah binti Syed Mohamed, 29, hopes that the voting process itself would be smooth, transparent, and will be handled well by the relevant agencies.
“I do hope that all eligible Malaysians will participate and fulfill their duty to the nation on voting day as this will determine their government for the next five years,” said this PTD officer in a Federal Government department in Melaka.
And what kind of govt does she want post PRU15?
- The one that can spur economic growth, bring down inflation, increase the value of Ringgit. It won’t be an easy task with the current world economic situation, but with proper planning and strategies, I believe that our nation’s financial condition can be improved. Apart from that, we need leaders who can actually lead, plan, strategise and execute those plans for the national interest, and not only for individual/party’s benefit. A government that we can fully trust and respect, with minimal scandals and issues.
What do the young people want?
- Security and stability. There are various factors which make us feel very insecure in the current times. This includes the instability of politics itself, poor employment rate, the double increase of OPR within a short period of time (which makes us think hundreds of times before taking new loans, especially housing loans); the inflation in general, and so many other factors. As we are the new generation, we are struggling to survive and to create our own living, so it will be very beneficial for us if the government can provide some sort of comfort and security in the form of stability in order for us to move forward and helps us to take the next step in our journey. I mean stability in the sense of politics and economy.
Lastly, which party does she think can deliver all the above?
- Still considering. Well, in my view, there is no party that ticks all the boxes, but I will try to gather more information so that I can choose wisely when the day comes, said this Bachelor of Medical Science Technology in Environmental Healthcare graduate who will be voting in Selangor.
Meanwhile, a third-time voter who is full of regrets for voting for PH in PRU14 said that he will definitely not waste his vote again this time around.
Patrick Chin (not his real name), 28, said that a few of his friends in the government and private sectors lost their jobs between mid 2018 and now. He is lucky that he has been helping in the family business in Johor Bahru since he graduated, but the business is facing tough times now.
“Thanks to the party that did not know how to manage the country, then the pandemic and two unstable governments thereafter, I am definitely going to make sure I vote for the government that has proven itself before. The Johor PRN in March 2022 has opened my eyes to why we need the right people to do the job to manage the country effectively,” said Patrick who said he hopes that BN will field the right candidate in his Parliamentary constituency.
So there you have it, folks, the young will have their say, all you have to do is go out and vote, and do it right this time. – NMH
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