Like in the last general elections, young voters will play a critical role in the upcoming general elections.
In GE13, young voters between the age of 21 and 40 made up 41.98% of the electorate, and indeed they had a big impact on the election outcome.
The rise of young generation has been an inevasible trend across the world, and vying for their support has emerged as one of the most important missions of political parties worldwide.
In fact, no parties can continue to stand tall in the total absence of young voters’ support.
As such, winning over the young people has become a crucial factor that will determine a party’s success or failure.
Nevertheless, winning over these young people is never easy. As EC chairman Mohd Hashim Abdullah has said, it is difficult to understand the attitude and thinking of Malaysian voters, in particular the younger ones.
He believes the voting trends of young voters to a very large extent take cue from the prevailing political situation, and they often vote on emotion.
This not only illustrates the utter difficulty to win the hearts of young voters but also highlights the phenomenon of their irrational voting patterns.
Compared to older, die-hard voters, young voters demonstrate an invariable inclination for flexibility.
Simply put, the political thoughts and concepts of older voters have largely taken shape and are therefore less susceptible to change. But for young voters, their attitudes are much more open and their voting patterns could change in tandem with the development of prevailing political situation and the performance of individual political parties, among others.
Theoretically such flexibility should augur well for the building of a healthier political culture because it will prompt political parties to perform better. Nevertheless, the question now is, young voters are more inclined to believe in the social media, especially first-timers, and will likely vote according to their emotions or information they have received from the Internet.
We cannot deny that the Internet has become a very important platform for young people to receive information, but the same is also a hotbed for the propagation of misinformation, biased remarks and lies which will progressively affect the minds of our youths and change their voting inclinations.
That nevertheless should not be construed as young voters all voting irrationally, but to highlight the fact that indeed some young voters will vote according to their feelings under the influences of the Internet.
GE14 will mark a crucial moment Malaysians will decide the country’s fate over the next five years. Through the ballots in our hands, we all can decide who should form the next government.
In view of this, while casting our ballots, we must sensibly assess the policies of various parties and quality of the candidates before making a final judgment. We must never be swayed by inaccurate information in the Internet or vote on emotion.
Do bear in mind that subjective emotions and fabricated lies could lead us to the wrong way. Voters can only make the right decisions if they think sensibly and analyze impartially.