PETALING JAYA: The youth in the country appear to be enthusiastic about the general election, but the big question is: “Will that be translated into votes?”
Analysts believe that most young voters have already decided on their choices and whether or not to come out and vote, but they still think that no predictions can be made as the results are likely to be too close to call.
“Based on what we see on social media and on the ground, most youths have made up their minds.
“However, it remains a concern whether they will actually come out to vote on polling day due to constraints like the climate and travel issues,” National Professors Council senior fellow Dr Jeniri Amir said yesterday.
He felt that it was important to mobilise as many voters as possible to come out on polling day.
“I hope the voter turnout will be at least 75% because if it is anything less than that, it will not be representative of the aspirations of Malaysian voters,” he said.
The highest voter turnout so far was 84% in 2013, while the turnout in 2018 was a close second at 82%.
The high cost of living, prices of goods, economic recovery, education and political stability are among the key issues that have been highlighted in the campaign for GE15.
Asked which coalition looks to be leading in popularity polls, Jeniri said it is too early to tell but “it will be very competitive”.
“Many surveys have been conducted, but there is no clear winner yet,” he said.
Dr Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said the electoral mood was just warming up, with young voters only getting to know politics and differentiating between the parties and coalitions.
Sociopolitical analyst Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said several youth groups, especially those in universities, had been found to be active and sensitive towards the latest political developments.
Likewise, he believed that the youths had likely made up their minds.
“The youth will feel appreciated when they are closely approached by political parties and will likely give their support to them,” he said.
Dr Azmi Hassan said voters had made it clear on social media who they support.
“Whether the enthusiasm on social media will translate into votes, that is something else,” said the senior fellow at the Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research.
He noted that the youth voter turnout in the Johor state elections in March was not as high as expected, adding, “Maybe some believed there was no urgency to go back and vote, but their vote was actually critical.”
Based on the electoral roll as at Oct 9, a total of 1,393,549 voters aged 18 to 20 are eligible to vote for the first time.