KUALA LUMPUR – September 20, 2017: A recent survey by the Merdeka Centre concluded that although a majority of Malaysian youths were highly dissatisfied with the government, they were also sceptical of the opposition’s ability to present a viable alternative.
According to the survey, 53 per cent of 604 respondents said they were too busy to register as voters, despite believing that the country was heading in the wrong direction.
It also pointed out that despite being the largest voting bloc, over 2.5 million of youths have yet to register as voters.
“If this apathy among youth voters continues, it is highly likely that turnout for the next general elections will be lower than the last one, which was 85 per cent,” said Merdeka Centre programme director Ibrahim Suffian at a forum last night.
Ibrahim added that the repercussions of having a low voter turnout among youths was that they may not regard the elected government as their representative.
On why youths were sceptical of the opposition, panellist and lawyer-cum-activist Syahredzan Johan said it was due to opposition leaders’ alleged penchant for talking politics non-stop.
“They should talk about other things as well. As the study suggests, the youths’ disappointment with the government does not translate into a vote for the opposition,” reminded Syahredzan.
He pointed out that the opposition’s silence over the recent ban imposed on online video game bazaar Steam by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission showed how disconnected they are with youths.
“They should have used the issue to tell the gamers how politics actually played a part in the ban of Steam. But they didn’t,” said Syahredzan.
The study also discovered that political issues such as the 1Malaysia Development Berhad controversy and the implementation of hudud were the least of the youths’ concern.
Instead, the majority — Malays (77 per cent), Chinese (71 per cent) and Indians (68 per cent) — said they were constantly worried with their personal finances.
The survey was conducted in 165 constituencies in 12 states in the peninsula from August 3 to 8.