By Najihah Zailan and Balqis Asrof
GOMBAK, 18 November 2022: With the voting age lowered from 21 to 18 years old, IIUM students pose fresh views on casting their ballots for the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15).
As first-time voters, they strive to equip themselves with adequate information on the importance of electing the nation’s future changemakers.
In exploring this topic, IIUMToday interviewed three students to hear their views and thoughts on the upcoming election.
When asked on how they feel as first-time voters, Ahmad Harris bin Mahadi from Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws (AIKOL) said that he was excited to be part of the democratic process.
“Voting gives us a chance to make a change without putting much effort into it,” he added.
Kautsar Binti Shaiful Anuar, a Political Science major from AbdulHamid AbuSulayman Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (AHAS KIRKHS) expressed that she felt responsible to vote and is excited to practice her rights as a citizen of this country. Nevertheless, she mentioned how tough to make a decision in regards to voting.
The same some conflict was also relayed by Adib Akhtar Bin Zulkifly from Kulliyyah of Engineering (KOE).
According to Adib, although he was excited about experiencing voting for the first time, he felt disappointed with the leaders for holding the general election during a period where flood could be a major crisis that needs attention first.
As students are given the opportunity to exercise their rights, it is not surprising that they have their own expectations towards the soon-to-be elected government this Saturday.
Harris critically emphasised the issue of the living standard in today’s socio-economic situation. He expressed that the economic crisis such as increasing inflation, prices like house rent and low salaries in government sectors should become the main agenda to be solved as they may impact him directly in the future.
He hoped that the elected government will be competent enough in dealing with such issues and dreamt of an ordered form of government.
Similarly, Kautsar anticipated nothing more than stability and secured fundamental rights as a citizen in Malaysia.
“It is important for the government to maintain law and order in the country so peace can still be retained.”
“A clear, transparent, efficient administration with greener government and good facilities, are what I expect the most from the new government,” she added.
The interviewees further commented on the issue of unity as a vital criterion in building a nation. They agreed that the new government is expected to be open to all regardless of their background and to integrate the definition of equal, fair, and just.
“In my perspective of Malaysia, there is no such thing as ‘Melayu jaga Melayu, Cina jaga Cina, India jaga India’. That is nonsense. There should be no discrimination of religion, race, and skin colour. How come Datuk Lee Chong Wei is seen as a hero while other Chinese are being looked at as communists?,” Adib expressed.
The shared expectations were conveyed in many ways but led to similar goals in which not only what they personally hope for, but also voters out there in general, that is for the betterment of the country.
Additionally, as GE15 draws nearer, various concerns have been debated among people, especially among students, regarding government’s control and policies, or the lack thereof, for the benefit of the country.
Kautsar stated that students are not foreign with loans and debts. Most of them are struggling to pay back their loans during university years as they cannot afford tuition fees and basic necessities such as books and accommodations back then. Thus, a good funding system should be prioritized especially for students.
Since many students who votes are graduating, job opportunities became the topic of discussion.
“There are graduates who aren’t working in jobs of their field. University students are trained to do high-skill works but aren’t put in the right place,” said Adib.
He further expressed the concern of slowly losing the skills they learned during their tertiary level as time passed by while waiting for the supposed professions they hope to get, which may lead to more substandardly prevalent matters later in life.
Considering these perceptions in the upcoming election, the young voters, particularly the students, should be able to choose wisely the ones with credibility to address their concerns.
As Malaysian is approaching GE15, exercising rights is not only pivotal as a student but also as an individual and a true citizen of the country.
Therefore, it is pertinent for oneself to be equipped with reliable and accurate information on all coalitions before making the final decision as this will determine the future of Malaysia.***
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- GE15 Interview: Are youths ready to vote for the first time? - November 18, 2022