Sabah election: Political parties should focus on young voters for support

A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Rantau in this file picture taken on April 13, 2019. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Rantau in this file picture taken on April 13, 2019. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 21 — Political parties contesting in the Sabah State Election (PRN) have to get the support of  young voters, especially those who are disappointed with the state’s political turmoil, with them having to go to polls again soon, having done so hardly three years ago.

A senior lecturer at Sabah Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Tony Paridi Bagang said the young voters felt that their votes are like a ‘commodity’ that can be traded to achieve one own’s political agenda. He does not

He does not rule out a scenario of the young voters refusing to go to the polls this time around, hence, will affect the Election Commission’s (EC) target of getting a 70 per cent voter turnout.

“Thus, this is the main challenge for the contesting parties and also the EC, to convince the voters,” he told Bernama.

The EC has set the Sabah State Election to be held on Sept 26 with nomination day on Sept 12 and Sept 22 for early voting. There are about 1.12 million registered voters in Sabah.

Bagang said the people’s concern over the Covid-19 pandemic would also have a direct impact on the state election process, especially on the number of voters who would go to the polls.

“This will also test the maturity and accountability of the people and politicians to observe the prescribed standard operating procedures (SOP), like physical distancing,” he said,

According to him, the dissolution of the Sabah State Assembly (DUN) to give way to the Sabah State Election is a ‘reset’ button to the state’s political crisis, with the impact on voters to be closely monitored by the affected political parties and leaders.

E-kelui Grab service driver Johari Napih, 25, said political instability would adversely affect the state government as the implementation of policies and initiatives, especially for the people, could not be carried out smoothly.

“The general public knows that Sabah has many ‘frogs’ (party hoppers), jumping for support here and there, resulting in the state government to become weak.

“I am fed-up with this, from the time I was very young until now, the situation has not changed. There have to be a ruling to eliminate all the ‘frogs’ (party hoppers) so that the government can work for the people,” said Johari, who is a voter in the Tempasuk state constituency in Kota Belud near here.

A delivery worker, Mohd Khairul Tazul, 24, said he is getting fed-up with the state’s politics and whether or not he would get to the polls in the coming election would depend on the candidates contesting for the Pantai Dalit state seat.

“The young voters, they look at candidates, their credibility, to decide on who to vote, and then the party they represent.  If I don’t like the candidate that is fielded in my constituency, then I will not vote.

“Give chance to new young faces to become candidates,” he added.

Sabah PAS Youth Information chief Mustaman Mustain agreed with the suggestion to have new young faces to be be fielded as candidates, saying that they can give new and fresh ideas for the state’s development.

“It will be the young voters who will be the determining factor in this election,” he added. — Bernama

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