The Johor state elections will be an exciting and hopeful occasion for all Johoreans in Malaysia and overseas.
It is particularly historic for the 18-21 year olds who will cast their votes for the first time. According to the Election Commission, the implementation of Undi18 and Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) has been gazetted on December 15, 2021 thus taken into effect just in time for Johor state elections happening in a matter of weeks.
The impact that these new laws will have is fascinating seeing that they will cause an increase of almost 750,000 new voters including 175,000 new voters aged below 21 years old.
Additionally with the implementation of AVR, making the process quicker for new voters to automatically be registered in the electoral voting roll. Having said that, new voters should still check their registration status and their constituency on the electoral roll here: https://mysprsemak.spr.gov.my/
Further to that, I call on the Election Commission to allow voters to be registered as postal voters immediately as voters overseas. In the Melaka State Election, overseas voters were only given 13 days to register. There is no reason why the online postal voting application cannot start now for the Johor State Election
While we remind the youth to vote, it is equally important to remind ourselves of why voting matters and why each vote counts, especially in a time where we are feeling the effects of a pandemic.
For example, young workers bore the brunt of the economic fragility during the continuous Movement Control Orders of 2020 being that youth unemployment reached 12.5% as compared to 10.5% in 2019. As an extension of that, when youth workers withdraw from the labour force, they turn to the gig economy and self-employment which poses greater risk seeing as it is less protected and less secure.
Though all is not lost for the young, as they are largely vocal on their discontent with the current government and how little assistance was given to aid their economic situation.
These issues will only continue to worsen if we do not carry the responsibility at the ballot box. It is up to all of us to vote in the coming elections for better candidates that want to see improvement in living conditions, creating structural safety nets and assistance for uncertain times like the pandemic, and inclusive of new and young voices in the nation-building process
I hope all Johorean youths take on this responsibility to change the course of this nation towards a better future and correct what has been wronged in the political landscape.
Teo Nie Ching,
MP for Kulai