Towards GE 13 – 2.2 million new Voters
Kuala Lumpur, 27 April – A whopping 2.2 million – almost 25% of the original number of registered voters in 2008 – is the number of new voters who have registered to vote for the forthcoming 13th general elections. This startling figure also give us an indication how tough and intense the GE-13 is going to be and by all means it could be these new voters who will end up as the deciding factor as to which political group will ultimately capture Putrajaya.
About 60% of the new voters are Malays and this fact reaffirms that the current trend of Malaysian politics is in fact that of Malay politics, to determine which group, BN or PR can ultimately win the support of the Malays and the Bumiputeras. While PAS and PKR are the main parties in control of opposition minded Malay voters, UMNO under BN, together with some of the parties from Sabah and Sarawak are controlling the other portion of the Malay and Bumiputra voters.
The number of new voters from the Chinese community has also drasticallyincreased. About 550,000 or about 24 % of the new voters are Chinese and again these new Chinese votes will be a crucial factor is deciding the ultimate winners of Putrajaya.
The majority of the Chinese voters are seems to be backing DAP but MCA and Gerakan are already active in their pursuit to win back a fair share of Chinese votes. Prime Minister Najib’s direct approach to the Chinese community, his sincere efforts in bringing about a true 1Malaysia, his son’s education in Mandarin are also factors that are helping to cause a change of heart among the Chinese to retain the status quo and not to embark on a change of government which may bring about many uncertainties and problems.
It has been reported that about 6.7% of the new voters are Indians and in several state and parliament constituencies these new Indian voters may become deciding voters.
Some of the new voters may comprise those who failed to register as voters during the 2008 elections. However, the majority of these new voters are definitely young with ages between 21 and 25. Therefore, the GE-13 is also a battle by the political parties to win the hearts and minds of the young voters.
The PR has taken the PTPTN issue in hand to woo the students in the next election, offering free education up to University level. The BN leadership under Prime Minister Najib has connected with the young voters by engaging with them through 1Malaysia website and social media like twitter and facebook.
The BN government has also embarked on scholarship programmes and other educational initiatives to woo the student population. This trend shows that both the political groups have understood the importance of young voters and the need to engage with them.
The mindset of these new and young voters and how it is going to be influenced are the factors that will ultimately decide their choice of party when voting in GE-13. When, the results of GE-13 are announced, it will not be surprise if the political pundits analyse to conclude that it was the influx of new voters and their voting power that determined the outcome of the winner of Putrajaya.