Friday, November 14, 2008

How to win the 6 million young voters

There would be two million Malaysians who would be eligible to vote for the first time in the next elections. This is in addition to the four million eligible voters, many believed to be under 30 years old, who did not register in time for the March 8 polls. We are talking about six million potential voters here. They would likely be opinionated, Internet-savvy and most likely idealistic. And if our older politicians think that this group does not matter and has little interest in politics, then they are in for a big surprise.

To win them over, it means more younger politicians, in their 30s and 40s, would have to be fielded in the next round. These politicians must be able to connect with the young voters and speak their language. In the recent US presidential elections, over 63% of young voters backed Barack Obama. At 47 years old, Obama is their poster boy.

Even before the polls, surveys showed that young Americans between the age of 18 and 29 favour him over John McCain by whopping margins - 59% to 38% according to Gallup polls in October. His staffers were young and familiar with Facebook, Twitter, podcast, video cams and blogging.

Old politicians have always thought that young voters are unrealiable but from the March 8 results, they had better wake up. The BN sent busloads of working, young Kelantanese back to support the BN but they ended up telling their folks to support Pakatan Rakyat. Many also used social networking tools on the Net to support opposition candidates while the BN relied mostly on newspapers and the electronic media.

In the next polls, the old "development funds announcements" formula is as good as dead. Culture wars and petty squabbles, started by the parents and grandparents of these 6 million potential voters, are best put aside if our politician want to connect. Issues of the 50s and 60s do not excite them nor do these issues have any relevance to people in their 20s.

Politicians who are serious of having a line to the young should blog now, not hire someone to start a blog or a web page on the eve of the campaign which contain nothing but press releases. Environment, poverty and conservation may be dismissed by most of our politicians but they better jump on to the bandwagon during early days now if they want to create an identity for themselves.

The mobile phones would also be a powerful tool and clever politicians would be sending regular "personal" political messages to their voters because in the new political landscape, the tools of campaigning have changed.


Anonymous said...


Sending 8 Policemen to arrest Ronnie Liu..does not help either. The more havoc done by PDRM and supported by Mainstream Media, the more damage in the next General Elections.

My own family, there are 85 voters, including my relations, cousins, and so on, and again all our votes will go to Pakatan Rakyat.

As I dont see the BN and UMNO changing..

cancan said...

These young voters are the future to shape this country.

My eldest was part of the victory that denied BN the two-third majority.
My second daughter is one of the millions eligible to vote come next election.It is my fervent hope that she will be part of the victory that changed this government.

Anonymous said...


Or BEnd can send all 6 mil of them to Taiwan...for a study tour..or to Zimbabwe to see how our country will be in 10 yrs if we vote "unwisely"...

Jasonred79 said...

The government of the past could commit all sorts of offences, in the firm faith that it would be covered up or quashed by the media.

Nowadays, everything goes onto the internet within the hour of an event occuring.

Politicians should just learn to behave with INTEGRITY.

K L said...

Change is still the key word !

Anonymous said...

i agree with some of the comments that the older generations were here to denied the two-third of the majotiry and i strongly believe that We as the younger generation voters will make the different on the next election to create a CHANGE in Malaysia history.

Younger voters like me are just so keen to wait for our change to voice our right and idea through election. Somtimes the BN should reliase what they had been done so long as the gorvement which dissatified and upset lots of young people. This feeling and disagreement will not disapear. Trust me:)

Young Malaysian

Anonymous said...

There are money ways get support from the young.

Not trusting their judgment; Going back on govt's own words, eg. breaching RM0.30 oil subsidy promise; Using scare monger tactics, eg. using tax on oil to scare the people to make them settle for non-subsidy oil, will not get the young support.

Integrity is what the young should learn and practise. They are not going to learn that from BN govt for sure.