Youth eager but uncertain whom to vote for

by AUFA MARDHIAH / pic source: aodmalaysia.org

OUT of 3,089 survey respondents aged 18 to 30, 80% expressed their intention to vote in the next election, yet 41% are still unsure for whom they should vote.

The Youth Aspiration Manifesto Survey released three parts of the report encompassing topics such as employment, housing, education, wealth distribution, healthcare, environment, representation, law and order, women, and youth and racial minorities representation in politics, as well as an indication of their intention to vote and whom they will vote for.

Architects of Diversity co-founder and survey principal Jason Wee (picture) opined that political parties should prioritise the youth in their campaigns if they want to capture what could be a pivotal electorate.

While most youth (55%) have not voted before, 80% surveyed reported intentions to vote in the upcoming elections with 13% being on the fence and 41% reported having voted in an election before.

In terms of youth representations in politics, almost two thirds (63%) felt that there were too few youths in politics and 22% thought there were just enough.

For racial minorities representation, the youth were split with 34% feeling there were just enough while 33% felt there were too few, while the report stated that 50% felt that there were too few women representation while 33% think there were just enough women representation in politics.

Even so, the question of whom the youth will cast their votes for remains unanswered — with 41% respondents still undecided about their political preferences, while 15.5% saying they would vote for Barisan Nasional, 13.88% for Perikatan Nasional, 11.9% for the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance and 10.5% for Pakatan Harapan with a slim margin.

Wee said the significant percentage of youth who are still undecided about which political party to vote demonstrates that political parties need to do more to reach out to constituency members of various demographics.

“We also need to ask, why are the youth not coming out to vote? Are they not motivated? Or they do not know enough?” he added.

In terms of what political parties can do to address the youth’s indecision, he said political parties need to ensure clear articulation of economic vision for Malaysia, as well as their policy stances on different issues concerning the youth.

“Political parties still need to rearticulate how they are going to make Malaysia a more equal place in terms of access to social economic justice and quality standard of living.

“These are the primary concerns among the youth, so political parties should take advantage and convey their visions of a Malaysia that is more economically just for everyone,” he said.

Issues that are most important for youth include the development of affordable homes (90%), increasing the minimum wage (61%) and increasing the public healthcare budget (45%); while concerns on enacting employment protection for gig workers, increasing illegal logging punishment and increasing mental health service resources are highly agreeable but rated as less important.