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What Undi 18 voters want at GE15

Voters who will be casting their ballots for the first time next month share their views on their ideal representative and, on the flip side, those whom they will not support.

Azzman Abdul Jamal & Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
3 minute read
Undi 18 voters queue to cast their ballots for the first time at the Johor state election in March.
Undi 18 voters queue to cast their ballots for the first time at the Johor state election in March.

The 15th general election (GE15) is expected to provide a clearer picture of the impact of including in the electorate the so-called Undi 18 voters or those aged 18 to 21 – over a million strong who are eligible to cast their ballots on Nov 19. 

While both Undi 18 and the automatic registration of voters have been gazetted since Dec 15 last year, questions remain over the extent to which the group is ready to face the ballot box. 

Data previously released by the Election Commission showed a total of 21,173,658 registered voters for GE15, of which 6.58% or nearly 1.4 million are in the 18 to 21 age group. 

While this figure is less significant than the number of voters aged 30 to 39 – 22.11% or almost 4.7 million – the Undi 18 voters have been a subject of interest, partly due to speculation over how they will cast their votes. 

Analysts say it is difficult to predict their voting pattern as the youth have no party loyalties, unlike those in the older generation. 

Nevertheless, conversations with Undi 18 voters in the Klang Valley have found that many of them are in fact ready for election day. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, they pointed to social media as their main platform for information and updates on the world of politics. 

Some of them said they began developing an interest in politics about two years ago, while sharing their views on the ideal representative or leader. 

R Sivaharriharann, 19, will cast his vote for the parliamentary constituency of Tampin. 

The university student says he will not vote for any representative known for seat-hopping. 

For him, the ideal representative must be up to date on the problems facing his or her constituents, so that these issues can be brought to the Dewan Rakyat. 

"If he or she is forever changing seats, how can this be done?" he said. 

"It's better if the candidate is a local, who knows what is really going on among the people." 

At the other end of the spectrum is Azri Syahmi Azhar, 19. Azri, who is registered to vote in Bangi, says he has no qualms about representatives who hop about, describing the act as a normal part of political strategies. 

He says it is the responsibility of MPs to come up with policies, adding that constituencies should have committees to hear the complaints of the people and take the appropriate action. 

"I'm not going to vote based on parties," he said. "I will vote for the candidate whom I believe is of the best calibre and worthy of representing the voice of the community." 

Muhammad Nur Aswad Jamel, 19, hopes that parties will field more new faces, especially from among the younger generation. 

Other main criteria include the candidate's ability to fulfil the promises made before election day.

"I'm not a fan of leaders who keep forming new parties," he added. 

"They should instead clean things up to prove their initiative to bring about change for the good of the people." 

Nur Aswad, who will vote in the Tangga Batu constituency in Melaka, also believes that leaders, especially those who are nominated as candidates for prime minister, must be individuals of integrity who are not embroiled in corruption.