Young leaders could sway voters

Potential in these young candidates to be featured front and centre as they are more energetic and able to serve their community


THE Melaka state election has taken an unprecedented turn with the emergence of a new trend in the political scene where parties are presenting and lining up young leaders to compete in the polls.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia senior lecturer (political study) Dr Mazlan Ali said this state election will be a relatively new situation where most of the political parties have fielded candidates who are relatively young.

“Only a handful of candidates are over 55 years of age. This is a sign that young people are increasingly recognised in Malaysia’s democracy arena.

“It also shows that these political parties are aware that voters will vote or even give marks to candidates who are considered young,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) yesterday.

He explained that because most of today’s voters are on the fence and are influenced more by issues rather than by a party, hence, they see potential in these young candidates to be featured front and centre as they are more energetic and able to serve their community.

Recently, Perikatan Nasional declared that 43% of their candidates are under 40 years old, while Barisan Nasional announced 86% of candidates are new faces and under 50 years old.

Concurrently, Pakatan Harapan announced their candidate 21-year-old Farzana Hayani Mohd Nasir (Sungai Rambai), the minimum age of a person eligible to be nominated or to run in an election in the state legislature or Parliament.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Institute of Ethnic Studies deputy director Dr Kartini Aboo Talib@Khalid said she would consider those aged 50 are energetic, accumulate vast experienced and economically stable, adding that voters aged 50 and below are significant in populations and have the power to decide who will win the election much better than those above 60.

“To lead a diverse nation, the people want new leaders, new aspirations and good governance to be entrusted with their tax monies to do good things for them. Many are convinced that having new leaders with a new vision will create a new path of leadership.

“The Melaka election will be ‘a testing ground’ to assess their strategy, to identify perhaps, new party for coalition and also their capacity and capability to gear a better campaign for the 15th General Election (GE15),” she said.

However, the Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun believed that there is a rush for many parties to put up young and fresh candidates in anticipation of Undi18.

He said while periodic replacements of old and tired faces are principally welcomed as it rejuvenates democracy, it remains to be seen if the youthful inexperience of the newly elected freshman representatives would be more beneficial to overall governance, or conversely be hampered by a steep learning curve, while the state would wallow in indecision.

“What is perhaps more important in the minds of many voters is to elect candidates of integrity and ability, regardless of age, race or gender, to truly live up to the state’s acclaimed fully developed status,” TMR was told.

The Election Commission (EC) has set today as Nomination Day for the 15th Melaka state assembly GE.

Nomination papers can be submitted by any two or one of the candidates, proposers and supporters from 9am to 10am to the returning officer at the 28 candidate nomination centres.

To facilitate the nomination process, the EC called on prospective candidates to fill in and make a preliminary review of the form with the managing officer’s office or Melaka’s election office before Nomination Day.

In addition, prospective candidates were also advised to make a deposit payment in advance and to bring the receipt on the Candidate Nomination Day as proof of payment.

This is to ensure that all nomination processes can be completed in advance and run smoothly.

“For candidates representing any political party, it is reminded that a letter of permission to use the symbol of the party represented must be submitted when submitting the candidate nomination paper.

“The EC hopes that the nomination process runs smoothly without any undesired incidents, especially those that could disrupt public order.

“The EC calls on all candidates and political parties involved to always abide by the laws, regulations, code of ethics and instructions issued by the EC, Royal Malaysian Police, Health Ministry and Local Authorities on Candidate Nomination Day,” it said.