Malaysia election sees close to 68% voter turnout as of 3pm, signs of high voter enthusiasm

In a surprising turn of events amid predictions of low-voter turnout, Malaysia has reached 68 percent voter turnout as of 3pm today, according to the Election Commission (EC).

Professor Tunku Mohar, from the International Islamic University of Malaysia, told Coconuts that the turnout may reach 80% by 5pm today.

“There’s enthusiasm among voters this time, at least in the peninsula. It may be slightly lower than 2018 at this point, but it’s not far off,” he said.

Asked how surprised Umno would be in regards to this level of turnout, Mohar said it would be a cause for concern for the country’s oldest political party, which was hoping to reestablish its control of the government this election.

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“Umno is aiming for a low voter turnout situation. It must be quite surprising, and concerning, that there is this drive for higher turnout,” he said.

Leaders like Mahathir Mohamad have accused Umno of calling the general election amid the country’s monsoon season in order to decrease voter turnout, a result that would improve the Great Old Party’s chances of returning to power.

In today’s 15th general election in Malaysia, more than 21 million individuals will be able to vote. It is estimated that there are around 1.4 million voters between the ages of 18 and 20.

This means that more than 12 million Malaysians have cast their ballots. In 2018, the country saw its second-highest turnout rate in history at 82 percent, while 2013 witnessed the highest at 84 percent.

Based on CoconutsKL’s observations and photos on social media, many started queuing an hour before polling stations opened at 8am. Voters will be able to cast their ballots until 6pm.

Photo: Aminah Farid / Coconuts Media
Photo: Aminah Farid / Coconuts Media

A first-time voter, Ashnika, told us she was happy to be able to exercise her democratic right.

“I keep up with the political news these days and the person I voted for, I’m quite confident that he will win,” the 19-year-old law student said.

Ashnika showing off her inked finger after voting. Photo: Aminah Farid / Coconuts Media
Ashnika showing off her inked finger after voting. Photo: Aminah Farid / Coconuts Media

Ashnika is among those that defy the myth that young people are uninterested in politics.

Meanwhile, another first-time voter, Eddy, said he hoped his vote could contribute to a more prosperous nation.

Eddy, another first-time voter. Photo: Aminah Farid / Coconuts Media
Eddy, another first-time voter. Photo: Aminah Farid / Coconuts Media

A Grab driver who works full-time as a Pos Malaysia driver told us that, regardless of who he voted for, his life would remain the same.

“I’d still be stuck with my finances and having to work two jobs,” he said.

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16 Nov 2022