Youth not interested in joining political parties, study shows

Youth not interested in joining political parties, study shows

They want to be free of any ‘political shackles’, says pollster Ilham Centre.

YOUNG voters are not interested in being part of any political party as they prefer to be free, a study by pollster Ilham Centre showed. Ilham Centre executive director Hisomuddin Bakar told The Vibes that those in the age bracket of 17 to 21 were not interested in politics despite some coming from a family of political activists.

Hisomuddin said Ilham Centre had conducted a study on youth behaviour in the last general and state elections. He said the youth were more inclined towards political issues being played up on social media, including those that touched on religion, race and royalty.

“This segment of voters refused to be part of any political party but they are interested in social media especially TikTok.

“We saw in the last election that issues brought up by Perikatan National (PN) were more dominant than Pakatan Harapan. The narrative, despite being sensitive, was much closer to the youth.

“As a result, the votes went to the PN. They benefited from the youth vote, especially from the Malays. “But that does not mean the youth are open to join them. They do not want to be ‘roped in’.

“What they want is to be free from any ‘political shackles’,” Hisomuddin said. He also said they did not receive any solid answers when the youth were asked if there was any party they would like to join if given the opportunity.

“Many of those we interviewed came from families with political ties. “Most had ties to Umno and PAS, but none wanted to follow in the footsteps of their parents or other family members,” he added.

Malaysians aged 18 to 39 comprise half, or 50.3%, of voters on the electoral roll.

The electoral roll as of August 2022 was officially released by the Election Commission (EC) in October, after it announced November 19 as the polling date for GE15 and the state elections for Perlis, Pahang and Perak.

Those in the age bracket of 18 to 20 were able to vote following the Undi18 implementation, which lowered the voting age from 21. There are 1,393,549 voters from this age group on the electoral roll.

It was widely reported that the majority of young voters from rural constituencies backed PN. PN won in many rural seats such as in Kelantan, Terengganu, Penang, Perlis, Kedah, Pahang and Selangor.

Meanwhile, Merdeka Centre said youth interest in politics is not the same as it was 10 years ago. Its co-founder and programmes director Ibrahim Suffian said this was because of the distrust towards politicians and political parties.

“The trust is no longer there, unlike 10 years ago. Youths are not eager to join political parties because of the internet. They get first-hand information from social media.

“They see greedy politicians and all they do is seize power,” said Ibrahim.

But Ibrahim said that if they were to join a party, it would be based on ethnicity.

“Malays would join PAS or PN, and non-Malays, DAP.

“The youth-based Muda is still a new party which has yet to reach their targeted audience,” Ibrahim added.

– April 24, 2024.

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