GE15: Nearly 1 mln young voters in Sabah likely to pick people-friendly candidates

17 Nov 2022 05:14pm
Image for illustrative purposes only - BERNAMA
Image for illustrative purposes only - BERNAMA
KOTA KINABALU - Young voters in Sabah for the 15th general election (GE15) are more inclined to cast their ballots for people-friendly candidates who are also capable of finding solutions to problems of low wages, home ownership and cost of living.

Sabah Youth Council (MBS) president Abqaree Fawwaz Abekan said the candidates must be wise in wooing the 932,541 young voters aged from 18 to 39 in Sabah as they represent 55.2 per cent of the total number of electors in the state, which is 1,689,387.

"Young voters are more likely to elect representatives with a simple character, easily approachable and contactable at any time,” he told Bernama.

He said the feedback received from the various youth clubs and associations in Sabah gave the impression that there could be a low turnout of young voters in GE15 due to their minimal level of political understanding and inability to return to their parliamentary constituencies to vote because of financial constraints.

Based on these observations and feedback, it is expected that the percentage of young voter turnout in Sabah would struggle to even reach 50 per cent on polling day on Saturday (Nov 19).

Local political observer Mohd Zaki Harry Susanto said most young electors still do not consider voting vital as they were not given early exposure to the importance of voting as a process to form the government.

"Most young voters are still categorised as being "fence-sitters”, and are not mature enough to make a decision or take any political stance.

"Any party that can win their hearts by offering interesting manifestos can get the support of the young voters,” he said, adding that, under the current situation, young electors had the potential to have a decisive say in each area.

Mohd Zaki, who is also a social activist involved in non-governmental organisations, including being the adviser of the Sabah Drug and Crime Prevention Organisation (PPDJS) and secretary of the Sabah Suluk Consensus Council (MPSS), said the important issues faced by young voters depend on the current situation and locality.
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"Young voters in urban areas will view issues related to greater job opportunities and wider economic opportunities as more important, in addition to faster and more efficient access to technology as a priority.

"For young voters in rural areas, they just want the development of basic electric, water, communication and educational infrastructures as well as Internet coverage that are on par with other places,” he said, adding that sports facilities are also frequently raised as being one of the necessities for the younger generation.

A young voter, 23-year-old Siti Jumurah Laudin said social media is one of the most important platforms for candidates to get the backing of Sabah’s young voters, although she did warn them to be careful of its content.

"We should not be too influenced by what we see on social media, it (social media) is a good platform to obtain information but we must be wise to evaluate, especially what each candidate has to offer so that we can then can choose wisely,” said the clerk, who hails from Pulau Gaya.

Another young voter, 25-year-old Fauzi Kintinalas said young electors could be the deciding factor in GE15 in Sabah due to the huge number of them, in addition to voting based on current issues and candidates who are contesting.

"Senior voters usually choose a party they are familiar with and proven to be able to help them. They then stick to that one party. It’s different for us young voters, we judge based on candidates, what they can do and also current issues,” said the cameraman from Kinarut. - BERNAMA