Youth Parliamentary Debathon Tackles Low Voter Turnout Issue
Low voter turnout especially among youths has become a rising concern in the road leading up to the 15th general election.
Yesterday, 10 youths from across Malaysia tackled this issue in the first series of the Youth Parliamentary Debathon 2022 jointly organised by Malaysiakini and KiniEvents in collaboration with the European Union Delegation to Malaysia.
Aged between 16 to 25, they debated on the motion “Why Youths Aren’t Voting?”, discussing how best to encourage youths to go out and exercise their democratic right.
The event was held over Zoom and broadcast live on Malaysiakini’s Facebook page.
The participants were split into two sides, representing the government and the opposition.
The ‘government bench’ was led by Damon Goh YiYang, 23, Spanski Steven, 26, Ryan Rayner, 18, Mohammad Farhan Mokhali, 25, and Divvesh Kumaravel, 16.
It advocated for a more inclusive and efficient postal voting system for Malaysians and for enacting an anti-hopping law before the general election takes place.
Meanwhile, the ‘opposition’ bloc comprised Alka Kaur, 21, Jason Kng, 23, Afiq Farhan, 23, Aziz Haqqim, 22, and Hema Shankari, 25.
It argued that postal voting, which is usually open to the police force and soldiers, should also be opened to the youth, and for a term and age limit be set for elected representatives.
They were then evaluated by a panel of judges including European Union Delegation to Malaysia press and information officer Norman Goh, Malaysiakini chief operating officer Ravi Chandran, Taylor’s College lecturer Mohd Muttaqin, and Malaysian Institute for Debate and Public Speaking (MIDP) chief executive officer Emellia Shariff.
Commenting afterwards, Goh praised the debaters, stating that they were on par with MPs.
Of the 10 debaters, Alka was later awarded the best debater award through a public online poll.
The 22-year-old Universiti Sains Malaysia mathematics and economics student who hails from Penang received a lifetime subscription to Malaysiakini.
The next two Parliamentary Debathon events will be held on Aug 6 and 20, with youths discussing the same motion.
The following round of debates will be held from September to October, with students debating on compulsory voting.
For further information, visit the Youth Parliamentary Debathon 2022 website here. - Mkini
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