Every Party S Challenge In Ge15 First Time Voters And Low Election Day Turnout Says Dap S Anthony Loke
File picture of Malaysian voters queueing to cast their votes outside a polling centre for the 14th General Election (GE14) in SK Puchong Indah, Selangor, May 9, 2018. — Picture by Miera ZulyanaKUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke said he is prepared for the projected dip in voter turnout in the 15th general election (GE15) from the 85 per cent high of 2018.
He said this was mainly due to an increase in the voter base after automatic registration was implemented for new, young voters.
“I think it will be a challenge for everyone. We have concerns, but we can’t help it. Every candidate and party will have to face them.
“As far as the young voters are concerned, candidates play a very important role.
“I have had conversations with young people. When I put this question to them, ‘What do you place as important when making your selection: Is it the party, the logo or the candidate?’ the feedback that I got was overwhelmingly the candidate.
“The candidate factor will play a big role in this election, so that also has an impact on our selection of candidates,” Loke told Malay Mail during an interview recently.
In his conversations with youth and first-time voters, the incumbent Seremban MP said he also found that this group was looking for someone who can relate to them.
“Party affiliation is something alien to them, as most young people today, they don’t really bother about political developments.
“But if they see someone who can associate with them or see someone who has done something, then perhaps it will be more attractive to them, because to them, they need to visualise that person or candidate. It’s no longer about the party only,” he said.
Loke added that he was expecting GE15 to be a different ballgame entirely, since the voting age had been lowered to 18, along with the introduction of automatic registration for this new group of voters.
“Nobody will know how this group will vote,” he said.
Malaysia is expected to add another 5.8 million voters with the full implementation of Undi18, following a constitutional amendment that lowered the minimum voting age from 21 to 18.
This would translate to an increase of around 40 per cent of registered voters in the country, which now stands at 15.8 million, to a new total of 21.1 million voters.
While acknowledging this was one of the concerns for his party and Pakatan Harapan (PH), Loke said there is another equally important group of voters who should not be forgotten.
This group, he said, comprise those who became disillusioned post-Sheraton Move as well as those disappointed that the general election has been called early despite a wet weather forecast.
“I still believe that no matter what the challenges, the general public still place a lot of importance in voting.
“They might be disappointed and lack enthusiasm, but if you have seen over the years, in any general election, the turnout rate was never lower than 70 per cent, even pre-2008 general election.
“Of course, after 2008, things were different. There was more political awareness and more enthusiasm, and then we reached 85 per cent in 2018,” he said.
However, Loke said an 85 per cent voter turnout would be a hard feat to repeat, stressing that anything above 70 per cent for the impending general election would be considered a big showing.
In 2008, the Opposition bloc managed to deny the incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition a two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time.
That year, the Opposition coalition took four more state governments from BN — Selangor, the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Kelantan and Perak — in addition to Penang, which it won in the 2004 general election and retained in 2008. - malaymail
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