Viva the youth!
By Zan Azlee
In my mind, the government that we have is still a caretaker government. Yes, I do know that legally, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and his cabinet is legally the government, but everything that led to this current lineup has been a big farce for me. From the Sheraton Move to whatever move after that, the rakyat had no say in anything.
But I also understand and support the fact that the instability that was happening at that time was not good for the country. I rallied behind the decision for everyone to just support a government, no matter a simple majority (or no majority!), as long as there is some sort of confidence and supply agreement between the parties.
I guess this actually did happen. I would have also liked a vote of confidence in Parliament to happen as promised. It didn’t work that way, but again, it’s been too much chaos and we needed it to stop. So, we may be unhappy about it, but we are going to let it be, just as long as any promises made in the agreement are kept.
To be honest, I’ve checked out. I’m waiting for a fresh reset come 2023 during the next general election. That’s when all of us Malaysians can get back out there and choose who we want as our true government again. No more nonsense of one person strategising and manipulating the laws to be in power.
Recently, I was filled with what the Malays say – semangat – after reading the latest report about the swell in registered voters from 14.9 million in 2018 to 20.6 million today. This is according to DAP’s Ong Kian Ming, who is the MP for Bangi, who said that the Election Commission has added 5.61 million new voters.
This comes after the Kuching High Court ordered the government to implement the Undi18 legislation by Dec 31, 2021. It has actually been gazetted and took effect on Dec 15, 2021. A few days ago, Johor announced that they will hold a special one-day sitting of the state assembly to amend the state constitution, making it one of the last states to implement Undi18.
So what does this all mean? In case you didn’t know, it means that the voting age is lowered from 21 to 18, voter registration becomes automatic and the age limit to stand for elections drops to 18 as well. This is all great news for the country and its people, for sure, and I am checking back in again!
Youths are the reset Malaysia needs
The country needs a huge reset from the past 60 plus years. We are seeing politicians who were around during the country’s first-ever government under Tunku Abdul Rahman still around in Parliament and forming policies. No disrespect to the country’s veteran leaders, but no matter how good your intentions are, your time is up.
Frankly, no one has more stakes in the country than the youth. They have more years to live in this country than the old folks and boomers. How long does a 70-year-old politician or voter have compared to an 18-year-old? I don’t want to sound morbid or even ageist, but the difference in perspective and approach between these two groups is huge.
There needs to be better representation in Parliament and government to reflect our society and now that the voting and contesting age have been lowered, we will see that happening. Political parties will have to start thinking about this new demographic and how to win their votes and from what we have seen, the youth knows what would be best for the country.
They have been extremely vocal and active when it comes to human rights such as freedom of speech, religion and immigration. They are strong advocates for anti-racism and discrimination. They have been very angry when it comes to issues of corruption. They are passionate, committed and have the energy to act.
With all that has been happening just during these two tumultuous years, from the injustices that allegedly have been happening in the justice system to the accusations that are being thrown against different government agencies, the youth have been taking the lead in speaking against it all.
Of course, everyone is against it too, but the youth are not yet jaded enough to actually want to do something about it. I have considered myself part of the youth all this while, but I woke up this morning and realised that I’m 44 years old and maybe, I have just a bit too much grey hair to be a part of that group anymore! But I’ll listen to what they have to say because most of it makes sense.
Anyway, for all these 70-plus-year-old boomer politicians, weren’t they themselves youth leaders who wanted change decades ago? Didn’t they lead the reform movements of their time? Didn’t they yell out for the youths’ voices to be heard too? So, shouldn’t they give the current youth what they fought for way back then, now?
Things are definitely going to change come 2023 and if the political parties want to continue to stay relevant, they will be forced to listen to the voters. And with this huge change in those who can vote, it can’t be ignored anymore. I’m excited and I can’t wait for the next general election. It can’t come soon enough for me.
[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]
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