Each new voter is “king”
EVERY party must be smart in formulating strategies to attract new voters, especially those from the Undi18 group, who will now be an important force in any election in the country.
Election analyst Dr. G. Mani-maran says all parties should view each of these new voters as the “king” and the deciding factor in victory.
“We are now looking at a total of 5.8 million new voters, or 750,000 people.
“In the current political situation, especially if you look at the analysis of the last general elections (GE), almost 30% to 40% are marginal seats at the state and parliamentary levels. If so, each vote is a new vote.
“In fact, I see that if the 5.8 million new voters come out to vote in the next GE, the number of voters will be sufficient to determine the new government.
“This assumption is based on the number of votes for each party falling within this range,” he said in an interview with Undi18.
Of the 5.8 million newly registered voters, 1.2 million are Malaysians between the ages of 18 and 20 while the remaining 4.6 million are those who were previously unregistered. According to data from the National Registration Department, between 40,000 and 50,000 Malaysians will turn 18 every month and be automatically registered to vote, according to the Electoral Commission (EC)
Manimaran says it will not be easy to convince new voters to vote for a party because many are intelligent and able to assess what is the best guarantee that all the parties in the running can give.
He says the biggest challenge is convincing new voters who are on the fence to vote, or to vote for certain parties.
In fact, Manimaran explains, the issue of party-hopping elected officials and the problem of integrity in politics have added to voters’ lack of confidence to vote in elections.
“Political parties need to give their confidence to young people – what is their manifesto and what are their promises to them.
“Today we have many crises, such as a political crisis, a health crisis, a jobs crisis as well as a crisis of integrity in politics itself.
“The way parties can win over these young and new voters is by giving them assurances – in the form of manifestos, campaigns, etc. – that the crises they currently face can be overcome,” says- he.
On another note, Manimaran admits to being disappointed when the government did not provide explanations and did not educate voters about Undi18 and the introduction of automatic voter registration.
He sees the government’s “reckless decision” not to get the message out about automatic check-in as a huge loss.
“There are still a lot of people who don’t know about this automatic registration and I think new voters also don’t know that they can already vote.
“The government has created a mechanism (Undi18 and automatic voter registration) but the government is not educating voters so that they know they can vote.
“To date, I have not seen anything on TV or other media from the government to educate the Undi18 group and new voters that they already have this system. We have no promotions, no automatic registration advertising.
“Otherwise there is no point in having a system like this. There is no point in spending millions of ringgits on the Johor PRN and maybe up to RM1bil in the next GE if it does not bring more than 5.8 million new voters.
“At the same time, we will fail on the principle of election, which is the active participation of voters. If you’re not serious, don’t make new allocations,” he says.
This article is part of “Undi18: My Country, My Decision”, the first joint report by Media in Arms, a media alliance comprising The Star, Sinar Harian, Sin Chew Daily and Astro Awani.