KUALA LUMPUR: Keeping their options open, first-time voters are still observing the political scene before deciding who gets their votes in the coming general election.
UCSI University student Calvin Wen, 23, credited his parents with instilling the sense of responsibility that led him to register as a voter.
“My parents told me every vote counts,” said Wen, adding that the younger generation is more politically literate.
He said the candidate who will win his vote would be outgoing or youth-oriented.
“A lot of things are happening in an unconventional way. These criteria will help candidates keep up with the younger generation,” he said.
His view is echoed by fellow UCSI University student Michelle Chang Jade Yin, 23.
Chang, who does not support any particular party yet, said candidates’ confidence and the feasibility of their manifesto were vital deciding factors for her.
“I will wait until all parties announce their manifesto before deciding,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to voting.
Many first-time voters say the key things on their mind are post-graduation job opportunities and how the economy may affect their chances of employment.
Taylor’s University architecture student Adam Hariz Shaarani, 23, said the core issue for him is national economic development.
“I will be graduating in the near future and issues such as finding a job will be important,” he said.
Adam is keeping up with political news via the Internet before he decides which candidate to vote for in his constituency of Shah Alam.
Ramzi Ab Rashid, 25, said the nation needed a government that is eager to help the people and tackle the issues they face.
“I will vote for economic stability and someone who works for the welfare of the people,” said the mechanical engineering student.
Ramzi, who will vote in Kok Lanas, Kelantan, said he will weigh the candidates’ merits.
“The (right) candidate has to have the mandate of the grassroots and a sense of responsibility to care for the constituency,” he said.
Medical graduate Muhammad Aminul Syahmi Shobri, 25, urged leaders to consider more environment-friendly policies.
“I will choose those who will care for the environment; for example, through reducing carbon emissions, taking care of our forest reserves, reducing illegal logging and poaching,” he said.
Muhammad Aminul, who will be voting in Subang Jaya, felt it was disheartening that while Malaysia is shaping up into a first world country, damage had been done to the environment and wildlife.
Medical graduate Wong Kar Khee was not exposed to politics back in her hometown of Papar, Sabah, until she moved to Kuala Lumpur to study five years ago.
“Growing up, my parents never talked about politics and I don’t think they even voted,” she said.
However, the 25-year-old said her time here had shaped her views about politics and made her decide to be a registered voter.
“Papar is a very small town, nobody talks about politics, and most people just follow the flow when voting. But now I want to see change,” she said.
Wong hoped leaders would look into education, primarily for scholarships to be more merit-based, and for the cost of living to be in line with fresh graduates’ pay.