PETALING JAYA: The NGO Undi18 foresees young voters in the Johor elections ignoring race-based politics and going for candidates who can promise them a good future.
The Johor polls will be the first in which voters aged 18 to 20 will cast their ballots. This is in accordance with a 2019 constitutional amendment that lowered the voting age from 21.
Undi18 co-founder Qyira Yusri said many young voters would be inclined to look at the track record and election promises of the candidates or the parties they represent.
“Young people tend to see past race and religion, although not entirely. They lean towards policy-based politicians. I think they will look at things like manifestos and election promises,” she told FMT.
Election Commission deputy chairman Azmi Sharom was recently quoted as saying that about 6% of the 2.5 million voters in Johor were from the “Undi18 segment”.
The latest electoral roll, gazetted this month, includes those who turned 18 on Dec 31.
Qyira said party hopping was the one issue that bothered all young people.
“Whichever party or coalition comes up with a firm stance on this issue, as well as a promise to tackle it, will be able to capture the youth vote,” she said.
Political scientist Azmil Tayeb said young voters were not as predictable as the older ones.
“Bread and butter issues are important to them and that gives a chance to parties to compete for their support based on programmatic campaigns as opposed to relying on racial and religious sentiments,” he said.
He said issues that were important to them included National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans, employment and the rising cost of living.
James Chin of the University of Tasmania said it would be important to observe the turnout rate among voters aged 18 to 20 and to see their voting pattern.
“This will be the first time that we will get solid data on which way they will vote,” he said.