Sunday, June 5, 2011

Power of Malaysian Youths During General Elections

Instead of saying that the young people in Malaysia is a charming force, it might be more appropriate to say that it is the power of the youth votes during general elections that has made the young people in Malaysia charming. There is no need for us to elaborate on the importance of youth votes in Malaysia during general elections. The importance of it is beyond words. If it is not, then there is no need for all the political parties to make great and aggressive effort to register young people eligible for voting in the next coming general election.
From ruling Prime Minister Najib Razak to Malaysian Chinese Association President Chua Soi Lek and Palanivel (Party President of Malaysian Indian Congress); and from opposition Anwar (Anwar Ibrahim, leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat) to Lim Kit Siang (Advisor to Democratic Action Party) and Hadi Awang (President of Pan Malaysian Islamic Party), both the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have put the Malaysian youths as the top category of voters they want to win over. They have created a lot of opportunities by making contacts with the young people in order to fight for the political support from each and every young face emerges in front of them.
Regardless of whether they are ruling or opposition party leaders, top politicians in Malaysia nowadays are going all out to exchange views with young office workers through radio and television channels. They sit on open fields and watch live football match with the young people. They chat with young 'Netizens' through Internet connection. All these behaviors adopted by the leading politicians in Malaysia in order to move closer to the young people are something we cannot image before the 8 March 2008 general election.
Safeguard Future of Putrajaya
As for Prime Minister Najib Razak, he has even gone to the edge and expanded his election war front by calling the Malaysian youths to 'safeguard the future of Putrajaya' and to avoid Malaysia from being 'pawned' or 'sold out' by the opposition parties. Such a candid statement by our national leader has clearly elaborated the importance of Malaysian youths and the relationship between the young people and Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has recently announced that the Government plans to introduce a 'Parliament for Youths' to allow the young people to elect their own representatives in this youth parliament so that they can debate and express their views on the any proposed national policies. He said the young people can develop and come out with their own rules and regulations in running this 'parliament for the youths' including allowing the young people to decide if the youth representatives of this youth parliament should be below 30 or 40 years of age.
As a matter of fact, as early as in December 2010, the PR-ruled Penang State Government has already come out with such a concept. Abdul Halim, Speaker of the Penang State Assembly has already proposed a 'Youth Council' to allow young people below the age of 21 (who still do not have the right to vote) to discuss and debate their views on Penang state policies in the lobby of the Penang state legislature hall. The purpose is to allow the younger generation to express their views about the nation.
Parliament for Youths
Unfortunately, Penang Speaker Abdul Halim's personal recommendation on the setting up a 'Youth Council' for the PR-ruled Penang state government has by now been over shadowed by Prime Minister Najib Razak's proposal for the setting up a parliament for the youths. Yet this is not the first time that some good ideas coming from the opposition alliance are picked and used by the ruling government. Earlier, PR, the opposition alliance has raised the problem pertaining to the difficulty for young people in the country to find appropriate housing in urban cities. Pakatan Rakyat has indeed identified the right pulse of the young pe ople by saying that this group of population lacks the financial capability to buy affordable housing in the cities.
At this juncture, both the ruling BN Government and the two respective PR-ruled state governments in Penang and Selangor are all actively pushing forward their respective affordable housing scheme for the young working adults. Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that the resource rich ruling BN has reaped the advantage of obtaining advance publicity on such proposed housing projects for the young people although neither the ruling BN nor the opposition PR has indeed identified the construction plots for this kind of affordable housing projects for young people.
To the young people in Malaysia, since the ruling BN and opposition PR are both fighting hard to come out with policies to please the young voters, Malaysian youths are also happy to move along with such a development and keep watch on the healthy competition between the two rival political camps. As such, the angry youths of the by-passed year cannot be seen in Malaysia now. The rebellious characteristic of Malaysian youths has gradually faded and in its place the young people in Malaysia have gradually accepted the new concept that 'young people are important in this country.'
Criticism and Rebellion
Criticism and rebellion coming from the young people are but channels for them to express their thought and feeling. Now the rebellious young people in Malaysia have turned to use their 'hot blood' in wanting to build an idealistic home and country they have in mind. The energetic and dynamic Malaysian youths with pure and innocent hearts now represent an era of hope for Malaysia.
Yet, behind the young people's innocent thought, there is this political mobilization force orchestrated by political parties and politicians with hidden political motive. They make use of the young people to carry out youth rallies and youth activities. Without the young people knowing it, Malaysian politicians fight among themselves with the hidden consideration to divide and pull the millions of youth votes to their sides and for their political advantage. They know that the frank and innocent youths will give them a refreshing and a plus positive image for their political parties.
Ruling BN has already run Malaysia's political shop for more than half a century. The present BN Government has inherited a less-than-positive image from the previous government with a negative baggage of corruption, among others. By attracting the refreshing young people to their side, the young people can give the ruling government a refreshing outlook and thus creating a favorable image for the ruling party. By reaching out to the young people, the BN Government can also indirectly dilute the rebellious thought and behavior of the young people of the past years.
Decisionmaking Process
For sure, the rebellious behavior of the Malaysian youths in the past is but a way for them to fight for more rights to express their views. Malaysian youths want to be respected by the ruling authorities and they want people to listen to them. The demand and appeal of the Malaysian youths are due basically to the fact that they are not happy that the authority in power has prearranged of what their future world should be like. They feel that the authority in power has imposed too much intervention and constraints on them. To the young people, the decisions taken by the authority on how the young people should behavior is equaled to rejecting the idea of the young people. To them, it also means that the right of the young people has been monopolized by authority in power.
When young people are deprived of their power to participate in the decisionmaking process they will use a more intense way to rebound. They are not a weak or a disadvantaged group of the society. However, more often than not, the reasonable appeals of the Malaysian youths in the past were not respected by the ruling authorities. In this regard, if political parties continue to ignore the voices of the young people and young voters, they will ultimately suffer from the negative consequences of not paying attention to the young people.
Troubles and Ridiculous Issues
Believing is a kind of force. When both ruling and opposition parties in Malaysia believe that the power of Malaysian youths can influence the political outcome of the country and even rewrite the political history in Malaysia, they begin to pay attention to the appeals and aspiration of the young people now. Politicians begin to come down from their high political platform to meet and get in touch with the young people in the country. The ruling government has also begun to include policies that represent views and voices of the youths into the mainstream national policies.Nowadays, young people demand change for their future. They know that the age that belongs to them has come. Those who rule the nation can no long continue to hide inside their authoritative comfort zone without going out to meet with the young people. They can no long think that the young people outside their doors are but the same old younger generation of the past years that did not have their own thought and whom they thought was but a group of young people who knew nothing in addition to creating troubles and ridiculous issues for the government.

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