KUALA LUMPUR, August 29 — Following the conclusion of six state elections on August 12, there was a widespread anticipation for the rapid and organized establishment of respective state governments. However, this expectation has been thwarted by various delays and challenges. Notably, Penang has only just witnessed the swearing-in of its 40 state assembly members, and Selangor recently unveiled its administrative lineup.
Adding to the complexity, Kedah experienced dissatisfaction over the allocation of executive councillor positions within the state government. Consequently, several weeks have transpired without fully functional administrations in some states. Furthermore, the lead-up to the September 9 by-elections for the Simpang Jeram state seat and Pulai parliamentary seat, both left vacant by the passing of incumbent Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, has been marked by contentious issues raised during campaign speeches.
Alia Mior, a 28-year-old communications executive residing in Ampang, highlighted the mounting exhaustion felt by constituents due to incessant political disagreements. Alia commented on the recurring nature of disputes, noting that even after the state elections, discord has reignited in Johor.
The appointment of the Selangor Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) drew Alia’s inquiry, questioning the time taken for the decision and whether the candidates were predetermined. Alia emphasized that while this process unfolded, urgent local matters remained unattended.
Reflecting on the role of youth voters in the 2022 general election, Alia outlined several factors that drove their engagement at the ballot box. Alia questioned the rationale behind the youth’s choice of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition during that election cycle. Noting the lack of transformation within the Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition from 2018 to 2022, Alia also expressed a decline in the visibility of Puteri Umno and Wanita Umno, the party’s women’s wing.
Alia highlighted the disappointment surrounding the belief that removing Datuk Seri Najib Razak would rejuvenate the party. She contended that the situation seems worse now, prompting her to suggest the exploration of a new coalition’s potential for implementing different strategies.
In the 15th general election, although political parties hadn’t heavily targeted youth voters, statistics indicated that individuals aged 18 to 30 constituted approximately 75.6 per cent of the voter turnout. A significant portion of these young voters supported PN, allowing the coalition to secure 74 parliamentary seats, second only to the 82 secured by Pakatan Harapan (PH). In contrast, Umno-BN managed to secure only 30 seats.
The recent state elections saw a considerable youth demographic among eligible voters in Kedah, Penang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, and Selangor. Over 50 per cent of the 9.67 million eligible voters in these states were aged 39 and below. Among them, 661,905 were aged 18 to 20, 2.16 million were aged 21 to 29, and another 2.16 million were aged 30 to 39.
The electoral outcome translated into substantial gains for PN in Selangor, where its seat count surged from five to 22. Additionally, in Penang, PN secured victory in 11 out of 15 Malay-majority seats, many of which fell within the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency – a territory also claimed by the coalition in the 15th general election.