M’sian Youth: The Deciding Factor For GE 13?
Malaysia’s 13th General Elections have been the most awaited and anticipated in Malaysian history, due to the latest trends that are present in the country and the ability of the two major coalition contenders to manage them.
Some of the ‘megatrends’ that the contenders have to face are:
YOUNG VOTERS: It is very interesting to know that 71% of Malaysians are under the age of 40, with 34%, aged between 20 and 40. Thus, the winner of the next General Election should most definitely cater to the demands of the youth.
MALAYSIA- AN URBAN NATION: Except Kelantan, Pahang, Perlis, Sabah and Sarawak, 71% of Malaysia is now urban.
POLITICAL DIVIDE: The politics of peninsular Malaysia is absolutely different from that of the island of Borneo. This has led to mistrust between political leaders as well as citizens in Sabah and Sarawak.
Barisan Nasional (BN/National Front), and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR/People’s Alliance/Pact) are the main contestants. With the history of being the longest- ruling coalition in the world, BN’s successful economic strategy is being questioned now.
Malaysia low-cost, export-oriented model has resulted in stagnation of wages for almost 80% of Malaysian households. Such households, on an average, earn RM3000 per month, in a country where the average monthly expenditure is RM4025.
Even worse, the bottom 40% of Malaysian households earn not more than RM1440 a month. Where as the rich 20% of households earn more than RM10,000 per month.
Various surveys and statistics show that the quality of education in Malaysia, at all levels, is not up to the mark. It is unsuccessful to match the standards of the East Asia economies. This has had a significant impact on the young voters. They have very high demands from the government this time.
Due to the poor quality of the education, the graduates are inefficiently skilled and later end up having limited employment opportunities and mediocre wages. With regard to this as well as other problems, BN government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will abolish the Internal Security Act and amending the Universities Colleges Act.
On the other hand, PR argues that the persistent weakening of the Malaysian economy, slow growth, and social instability are all due to the BN’s lack of leadership qualities, it’s alienating, bias and religious politics, and the abuse of the rule of law.
The young voters know what they want and strongly feel for the need of a better and competent government. They will definitely vote rationally.
UMNO’s Youth Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin has urged all component party youth wings to approach all the young voters as they might be the deciding factor in BN’s win in GE 13. He also says, “You can’t change for what you believe in without going through political process, which is why they have to care and be involved with politics.”
I think it’s time youth stamps their mark in the General Election 13, if they want to be a part of a better and beautiful Malaysia.
By: Shubham Mehrotra, The Malaysian Times