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Some settled, some clueless, Undi 18 head out to vote

Some who have been following the campaign period already know who they will support, but others are less savvy about their candidates.

Teoh Yee Shen
3 minute read
Undi 18 voters wait to cast their ballots at the Johor election in March.
Undi 18 voters wait to cast their ballots at the Johor election in March.

With under 24 hours to go before election day, some young voters have already made up their minds who to support, fuelled by a wide variety of reasons as, for the first time, the Undi 18 group or those aged 18 to 21 head to the polls to have their say on the next government. 

Kon Zi Yee, 20, is back in her home town of Seremban where DAP's Anthony Loke Siew Fook is looking to defend his seat for Pakatan Harapan (PH) against Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Felicia Wong Yin Ting of MCA and three others from Perikatan Nasional, Pejuang, and the independent bloc. 

When asked how well she knew the candidates in her constituency, Kon said she was familiar with both Loke and Wong. 

"Not the other three," she added. "But I already have in mind who I will vote for."

She said she would support this candidate based on what she had seen of their sincerity as well as Seremban's development alongside other parts of Negeri Sembilan. 

However, she said she hoped that the environment would be preserved even amid the ongoing development projects. 

When asked about her friends who would be voting alongside her tomorrow, Kon said many of them were clueless about their choice of MP. 

"They will make their own choices," she said, adding that she had shown them some of the candidates' so-called report cards.

"With the abundance of information and all of the manifestos being shared, they prefer someone they trust." 

On the race for support between Loke and Wong, she said Wong might stand a chance if she were not up against the DAP secretary-general. 

"Sadly, Anthony Loke is her opponent – an MP that stays with Seremban," she said. 

The Undi 18 voters have been the subject of interest this election, partly due to speculation over how they will cast their votes. 

Of the 21,173,658 individuals registered to vote this weekend, 6.58% or nearly 1.4 million are in the 18 to 21 age group. 

Tan Kai Ling from Segambut, meanwhile, has also decided who he will support after watching his candidates throughout the two-week campaign period. 

"I know the candidates from their banners and online videos," the 20-year-old said. 

"What impresses me is how this person speaks up and previously pushed a few agendas in Parliament." 

Unlike Kon, Tan said most of his friends were aware of their options, adding that who they would support boiled down to the impression given by these candidates. 

"First-timers will vote for someone they know," he said. "They can't be bothered with people they don't know.

"A friend of mine from Sungai Buloh only knew about Khairy Jamaluddin when I showed him his picture," he added, referring to the Rembau incumbent from BN who is contesting the seat of Sungai Buloh this election. 

Tan said he believed that positive media coverage and exposure were also key factors in the decisions by first-time voters. 

Phwah You Yang from Bakri in Johor, meanwhile, already voted once in the Johor state election in March. 

Tomorrow, the 22-year-old will be casting his ballot for the second time.  

He, too, has already decided on the best candidate to represent him. 

"I hope that the party this candidate represents will be able to bring change to the system which has been burdened with corruption for a long time," he said.