Straw poll: Most youths excited about Undi18

Nazira Hasanah Nasaruddin
·2-min read
Straw poll: Most youths excited about Undi18
Straw poll: Most youths excited about Undi18

A straw poll among young people revealed that those aged between 18 and 21 years are generally looking forward to casting their vote in the next general election - the first time they are allowed to do so after amendments were made to the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age.

Many students told Malaysiakini that they were "very enthusiastic" about deciding who should govern the country.

Universiti Malaya foundation student Nasrul Ariff Ashraf Nasaruddin, 19, said the political sentiments of youths should not be ignored.

"Youths should be the focal point of the government. They are the assets of this country," Nasrul Ariff said.

Sixth-form student S Sarmilah, 20, said it was an "honour" to be given the chance to vote.

Sarmilah said she appreciates the importance of voting from her General Paper lessons in school.

"I believe the current young generation is wise, and they are up-to-date on political matters," she said.

The Federal Constitution was amended in 2019 with unanimous bipartisan support to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 during the Pakatan Harapan government.

However, the current Perikatan Nasional-led government, which is widely expected to call for elections once the emergency is lifted in August, is against implementing the decision.

Among others, the government said the movement control order (MCO) made it difficult to do so. Some who had voted to lower the voting age, such as PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, now claim that young voters are not mature.

Flimsy excuses

A matriculation college student, who wished to be known only as Li Yang, said the reasons for postponing the lowering of the voting age was "weak".

"This (lower the voting age to 18) has to be done as soon as possible. The Election Commission should not give flimsy excuses," said Li Yang, who is aged 18.

Another student, who wished to be known only as Shashivarmaan, said the government's postponement to lower the voting age was an affront to democracy.

"The constitutional rights of those aged 18 to 20 are being violated," he charged.

However, a handful of students polled told Malaysiakini that their peers were not ready to vote because they knew little about politics.

"The postponement is correct. People our age are not aware of current affairs, let alone politics," said a student.

Nor Anis Ramli, 18, a part-time grocery store worker, said the lowering the voting age was not relevant to her and her peers because of their lack of political knowledge.

"Some of us are afraid to vote... We just finished school. We don't know anything about politics. We didn't learn that (politics) in school," she said.