22-year-old Batu candidate seeks to champion the youth

Law student P Prabakaran wants voting age to be reduced to 18 and youths equipped with proper skills. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Independent Batu candidate P Prabakaran wants to be the voice of youths if he wins the May 9 polls.

The 22-year-old law student said he wanted to change the perception held by many senior politicians that youths do not know how to lead.

“Many feel we do not know anything. But that must change. We want to be heard.

“I want to educate youths about their rights so that people will stop thinking that youths do not have what is needed in politics,” he told FMT.

Prabakaran will be launching his manifesto soon. However, he revealed two of his key points to FMT.

The first is to lower the voting age from 21 to 18.

“More youths should participate in the voting process,” he said. “That is not happening. The senior politicians feel the youths do not have the maturity to vote at 18.”

With proper education and awareness, though, he said youths could become more active in politics.

“I want to teach youths to learn to fish instead of waiting for handouts.

“In developed countries, teenagers as young as 15 know their rights. But over here, many youths are sheltered because the seniors think we do not have the knowledge.”

Prabakaran’s second key point is to ensure that youths possess the necessary skills to make a living.

He said there were many who were not equipped with the relevant skills and were unsure of their futures

“I have joined politics for the sake of the youths. Politicians have to stop deciding our future,” he added.

He said he wanted to contest as an independent candidate so that he was not attached to any political party.

However, he stayed mum on his future plans, saying only that he would reveal them when the time was right.

Prabakaran entered the limelight on Saturday, emerging as the youngest candidate after nominations for the May 9 polls were closed.

The opposition is believed to be wooing him, as its PKR candidate for the Batu seat, two-term MP Tian Chua, was rejected over a previous conviction for insulting a policeman.

This is despite Tian Chua’s fine being reduced to RM2,000 after he appealed to the High Court. The Federal Constitution disqualifies anyone fined more than RM2,000 from standing for election.

Election Commission (EC) chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah said on Saturday that the decision to accept or reject a nomination was solely at the discretion of the returning officer at the nomination centre. He said the EC will abide by any decision by the courts on the matter.

Besides Prabakaran, Gerakan vice-president Dominic Lau (BN), Azhar Yahya (PAS) and independent VM Panjamothy are also contesting the Batu seat.

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