WE have seen a significant rise of political participation by youths over the years. They are often the first to speak out against injustice, government policies, corruption, and not to mention the scandals facing our country.
We have also seen our fair share of youthful revolt in politics, with the most recent example being the #TangkapMO1 rally, in regards to a suit filed by the US Department of Justice linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
The rally, which was initiated and led by undergraduates on Aug 27, had managed to gather quite a crowd. During the rally, it is apparent that there was no veiling of their anger against the ruling government.
However, can they do more than just firing salvos at the authorities and create chaos at street rallies?
Well, I don’t think so, now that some four million of eligible young voters were said to have failed to exercise their electoral rights by registering and voting. (m.malaysiakini.com/news/356982)
The jaw-dropping number of unregistered voters signifies that there is a rather low level of awareness among the youths of the need to cast their vote.
It shows that they are unaware of the need to generally be ‘really’ interested in the way Malaysia is governed.
It also indicates the lack of interest among the youths to major issues in the country.
Sadly, when things don’t go quite well, they would complain stridently on the current system and policies, and chided about how bad our politicians are.
There is no doubt that no matter what happens, everyone’s live is affected by politics. Instead of complaining and rallying, these youngsters must be pushed to be proactive to vote.
It is ideal for the authorities to engage with the youths and help sensitize them of the importance of participating in the electoral process.
They should be reminded that their votes matter to the country’s wellbeing, and that street protests would only lead to persistent disorder in the society.
To the youths; you must exercise your rights accordingly. All you have to do is to head down to the nearest post office and register.
Everything is electronically done now, and the only problem was the long waiting line. That’s normally what you get when you go to the post office during peak hours. Other than that, you can always check your registration status here. (daftarj.spr.gov.my)
After all, if the youths can pick themselves up to a street protest, they could surely put up an effort to go out and register as voters.
All in all, voter turnout is indeed essential and the impacts of our young voters on the elections shouldn’t be undervalued.
If everything else doesn’t work, perhaps, we should implement automatic voter registration. Just saying.
Balqis Rayhana is an independent analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly her personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.