Voting is a right, will the youths exercise that right well?

TO vote or not to vote? Will my vote make a difference? Aren’t Malaysians all faced with no choice but to re-elect the possibility of the same line of politicians, vying for their own share of the pie? Or do these well meaning elected representatives really have the well-being of the rakyat on their minds?

The short lived glory of the 14th General Election (GE14) when Pakatan Harapan took over from the 50 years of the Barisan Nasional Government gave the rakyat some form of hope, then.

However, when former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad decided to call it quits and step down from office, the glimmer of hope faded away. In what has been described as the ‘backdoor’  Government came into power not long after with the leadership of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister and the rest is history. 

The caretaker Government of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has called for a fresh set of elections to make amends to the country’s predicament, the faltering of the Ringgit, high unemployment rate, the high cost of living amongst the many. 

While politicians from BN, Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan bicker in the upcoming elections, what do the youths have to say? The generation expected to lead the country after the retired or now retired baby boomers and the generation thereafter the boomers, the Gen X who are already in their mid ages.

While, the millennials, those born between 1981-1998 have either voted in the last election or the latter born millennials who are just about to vote, what do they really think about the political climate of the country and would they be even bothered to cast a vote?

Is it all worth it? What about Gen Z, those born between 1999-2010? This is probably the very first time that this group of voters will be exercising their rights to vote in an election which will determine the future of the country in the next few months.  

Now, with the automatic voter registration, the members of the current generation do not have to actually register to vote, once they reach the age of 18, the right to vote is accorded to them automatically. However, it is a choice should they choose to go out on polling day and cast their vote.

Right to vote a privilege not to be wasted

In anticipation of the thoughts and opinion on whether they will go out and cast their vote. 26-year-old Sangeetha Kumari when contacted by FocusM today opined that the right to vote was a privilege and doing so is only a form of exercising one’s right to vote as a citizen. 

“I believe I’m in between millennials and Gen Z. I will definitely vote as it’s my right and responsibility as a citizen of Malaysia. I will also be voting in hopes that it brings about a change and a brighter future for Malaysia.”

Kim Weng Leong, in his early 40s also shared the same sentiment saying as a citizen he will go out and cast his vote nevertheless, whether there is going to be real change or not, he will exercise his right.

“Yes I will, though it doesn’t mean much,” he said. 

Vote or don’t vote? (Photo credit: Borneo Post)


On a very diplomatic view of the whole voting and election process, 35-year-old Syed Al-Azizan believes voting is a choice, “Whether we vote or don’t, we just do our part as it’s a privilege given, we don’t know who will be the next – just do our part, who knows it might for good this time,” said Syed, a father of one who works at a private company. 

Medical doctor Myelone Tharmaseelan expressed that voting is one of the most powerful ways the youth can make a change and has no qualms about not voting as this young doctor will be up and ready to vote on polling day.

“Against the backdrop of political instability the mandate has returned to the people of Malaysia,” said the 33-year-old Chevening scholar. 

He also urged the young to come out and vote whilst exercising their civil responsibility as every vote counts. 

Writer, Aisya Sufian is a first time voter and is excited to exercise her right to vote. In her own words, “I would vote, simply because it’s my first time voting and want to do the right thing for my country by electing the right leaders,” said the 24-year-old.

With the positives comes the negatives too

While, most of those asked had positive things to say about the voting process, there were equally differing views who felt the state of the country’s politics have certainly turned them off from going out on voting day and casting their votes expressing disappointment in the country’s state of affairs, hence believing a vote will never make any difference whatsoever so long as the corrupt still rule. 

Photo credit: Malaysiakini.


Kisho Kumari, 36 said she is fed-up with Malaysian politics and will not be casting her vote come GE15. 

When asked why not?, Kisho who hails from Perak merely said, “No, I’m fed up, nothing changes especially for the marginalised Indian community.” 

Former journalist Monisha Vijaya Segaran intends to stay home during polling day stating, “At this point I feel utterly disappointed to even vote because as a Malaysian, despite the multiple honest votings and rallies done by our people, the government still manipulates and takes charge as the ruling party.

“So, I anticipate no changes in GE15 because the whole lot of corruption makes no difference to our vote,” said the vocal 26-year-old. 

With the differing opinions, we can actually gauge the election outcome at least when it comes to the younger voters.

The automatic voter registration may see the number of voters increase, but the probability of  actually having all these new voters go out to the polls on polling day is no guarantee.

The country amended its constitution in 2019 to lower the voting age to 18, hence lowering the minimum age requirements for new voters and register all Malaysians aged 18 and above as automatic voters. 

During the writer’s conversation with the youths and young adults interviewed, almost all are deeply concerned about their future and amongst the core worries that causes them daily anxiety is the high cost of living, stagnant wages, high unemployment, the unpredictability of the high and low of the Malaysian economy, job security and financial burdens. 

The main concern of Gen Z is their inability to even purchase a car due to low income and an even lower minimum wage. Many are concerned if they will have enough to sustain themselves till the end of the month before pay day. 

However, for their older counterparts the millennials having enough savings for retirement age was a major concern and for those with young families, many are worried about the country’s state of affairs in the years to come, wondering if they would be able to give their children a good life.

Hence, those who can afford to seek opportunities elsewhere are already thinking about migrating to countries that can offer them higher earnings, work life balance and holistic living. 

Their grouses are backed up by a research conducted by the Merdeka Centre which found young Malaysians were most concerned with financial and employment issues in a survey published in May 2021. 

Ultimately, the question of whether or not to vote lies in the hands of the politicians who have the ability to shape the course of our beautiful Malaysia for the better. – Oct 12, 2022


Main photo credit: Malay Mail 

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