COMMENTARY : Political parties in the country will face a new challenge at the next general election with a whole lot of young Malaysians ― from age 18 ― now allowed to vote.
The entry of these young voters will change the country’s voter landscape and force the existing political parties to make changes – some direct and some minor to their party manifestos in order to accommodate the needs of these voters.
These voters are not small in number, amounting to some 5.8 million voters.
Their emergence will change the political approaches and cadetship of political parties that have not changed in every aspect of political perspective since the fifties when the parties were set up.
As the general election may be held before the end of next year, political parties with youth wings which have not touched base with these young voters are at risk of losing out when it comes to adding to their present vote banks.
While older parties are known directly or indirectly to these young voters, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) is at a disadvantage.
Headed by former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who now heads the National Recovery Programme (NCR), the party’s youth wing called Armada ― formerly headed by Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman who left to form a new party for youngsters called Muda ― seems to be quite disconnected from the youth grassroots.
In this scenario, Bersatu ― like it or not ― will have to collaborate with BN and PAS to remain not just relevant but survive political uncertainty in the next general election.
By : ZAINAL EPI – MALAY MAIL