Mother of All Elections: Where Are Malaysia's Youths?
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
The day to vote has come, and with just a mere few hours away from the result announcement, one cannot but help to feel a sense of trepidation. This is because, unlike previous elections, this general election may well be the biggest (or is “impactful” a better word?) one yet.
Hence the term “Mother of all Elections” being used to describe it.
This time around, among the candidates up for the post of Prime Minister are heavyweights caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, 64, who is fighting to return to his third term as Prime Minister, and Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, 92, who was not only known as Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister but the Father of Modernization as well.
From these facts alone, it is clear that the 14th General Election is going to be a tough fight.
That being said, despite the obvious tension in the air in light of election fever, there is a group of eligible voters that has chosen to remain worryingly silent.
These voters are our youth. While it is no secret that Malaysians can talk about politics for hours on end, this seems to only be largely true for the older generation. The same simply cannot be said for our youth.
For emphasis, according to statistics, as many as 3.8 million Malaysians are not registered to vote- and 2/3 of them are in their 20s.
As though to reflect this, many young Malaysians confirm their lack of interest when interviewed. Among many of the answers received from the age bracket of 18-29 years old, the vast majority have expressed apathy towards the elections.
Their reasons for this range from general lack of interest, long working hours and a misguided belief that their votes do not count.
It is hard to argue with the numbers when one can witness this disinterest on the ground as well.
That said, there are still young Malaysians who are interested in politics. While they have cited that they would be disappointed or devastated should their party lose, they have also expressed hope that perhaps GE14 would help increase interest and participation.
“It might kindle some sparks (in young Malaysians) to fight and participate in the future elections,” said Terance, 23.
Regardless of which party wins this election, I do hope that more young Malaysians will take a more active interest in politics. After all, the future of Malaysia rests in their hands.
And for those who are invested in politics, should their party lose, remember that we are all Malaysians at the end of the day.
Zoe’s, 23, thoughts on the matter cannot be more apt:
“I would be disappointed if the party I'm supporting does not win but I will still do what I can to make Malaysia better and not lose hope. I think that other Malaysians will be unhappy and some might even be mad (if their party loses). Whatever it is, I hope that we can maintain peace and stability so that lives will not be at risk.”
Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini