First time young voters as fence-sitters, a likely decisive factor in State Election

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING, April 30: First time young voters can be a decisive factor in the State Election as they could form a bulk of the non-partisan fence-sitters who would execute their votes either way in favour or oppose the government-of-the-day.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing Jemut highlighted this as he viewed that young voters between the age of 18 and 20 are more “agile and adventurous but less cautious” in making political decisions.

“Young voters (18 years old) can go either way, for the government of the day or against it.

“Youth, however, tends to be more agile in making political decisions. Their age has not tempered their preference to be more cautious.

“Thus, they are more adventurous in planning for their future and hence political landscape,” he opined in a statement today.

Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, gave his views on a question whether new young voters would be in favour or oppose the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) come the 12th State Election that is due in June this year.

Elaborating, he pointed out that American youths in the 1960s were more rebellious and went against the institution.

“But as they grew older and shifted into the middle class society, so are their thoughts as they become more stable in thinking.

“This is human behaviour regardless of ethnicity. (As such) I don’t expect Malaysian youth to be different,” he said of how experiences will shape individuals’ lives.

Meanwhile, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has reiterated that they are committed to enabling youths, aged not younger than 18 years old, to be voters in the 15th General Election or any other by-elections and state elections.

However, there was no time frame given after the Election Commission (EC) announced a delay, stating that the lowering of the minimum voting age and automatic voter registration (AVR) could only be done by Sept 1, 2022.

On July 16, 2019, Parliament unanimously passed the Constitutional amendment for AVR to lower the voting age to 18 and to make 18 the minimum age for a Malaysian citizen to run for public office.

Previously last November, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan informed that the two initiatives were expected to be implemented in July this year.

This has caused some ministers, opposition, youth groups and relevant non governmental organisations (NGOs) to question the government’s commitment to allow 18-years-old to vote. — DayakDaily