KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — A survey conducted by youth group Architects of Diversity (AOD), in collaboration with UndiI18 and Undi Negaraku, showed that a significant eight in ten Malaysia youths said they intend to vote in the coming general elections (GE15).
In a press conference unveiling the third part of its survey titled the 'Youth Aspirations Manifesto Survey', its co-founder Jason Wee however revealed that 41 per cent of the respondents however have not made up their minds on which political party to choose on their ballots.
'Our results demonstrate that while most youths intend to vote, many are still unsure on who to vote for,' Wee said.
'Political parties should take heed and ensure to include youth as a campaign priority if they want to capture what could be a pivotal electorate.'
Breaking it down, the survey showed that there is a tight competition among political parties or coalitions for youth, with support for Barisan Nasional (BN) the highest, at 15.5 per cent, followed by Perikatan Nasional (PN), at 13.8 per cent, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) at 11.9 per cent and Pakatan Harapan, at 10.5 per cent.
'While these figures should not be interpreted as an indication of political outcomes or prospects (considering factors such as demographic distribution), they demonstrate a large swing voter group that will likely contribute to the volatility in GE15 dynamics,” said Wee.
On the representation of women, youth and ethnic minorities in politics, 50 per cent of the respondents felt that there were too few women, while 33 per cent said that there was enough representation.
'For youth representation, almost two thirds (63 per cent) felt that there were too few youths in politics, with 22 per cent saying there were just enough.
'Respondents from the central region were more likely to feel that there were too few youths in politics, while Malays and men were less likely to feel the same way,” said Wee.
As for ethnic minorities, the data was split three ways, with a third (34 per cent) saying that there was enough representation, while another 33 per cent felt that there were too few.
'While the majority of Indian and Chinese respondents felt there were too few — 66 per cent and 51 per cent respectively — only 20 per cent of Malay respondents felt the same way,” he continued.
A new voting bloc on the electoral roll means that new areas of interest need to be addressed by political parties who wish to sway Undi18 voters.
Based on the survey results, issues rated most important for youths include the development of affordable homes (90 per cent), increasing the minimum wage (61 per cent) and increasing the public healthcare budget (45 per cent).
Enhancing employment protection for gig workers, increasing illegal logging punishment and improving mental health services resources were also highly agreeable.
'Support for developing more affordable homes, increasing the minimum wage and increasing the public healthcare budget saw great support and rated highly important among fielded policy items.
'Enacting employment protection for gig workers, increasing illegal logging punishment and increasing mental health services resources were highly agreeable but was rated less important,” he said.
AOD said the survey was done with an aim to ensure youth concerns, issues and demands for a better Malaysia are taken into consideration when making election manifestos and promises.
The three-part survey was administered from February 22 to March 7 among a nationally-representative sample of 3,089 respondents between 18 and 30 years old.