PETALING JAYA: MCA cannot maintain its old ways of thinking, as it is expected that there will be at least 7.8 million new voters with the implementation of the 18-year-old voting age and automatic voter registration expected to commence by July.
MCA Youth chief Datuk Nicole Wong said these young voters would be the ones who will determine the future of the country.
“In this regard, MCA Youth must take proactive steps to ensure that accurate information and government policies are channelled to these youths, and we must also emphasise to them that the future of the country is not a trivial matter.
“It is their responsibility to vote in order to uphold the values of parliamentary democracy and rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
“This voting opportunity only comes every three to five years and each vote is important to determine the direction of our country during this period. This shows how important it is to choose a good government that will determine the future of the country. This is what should be emphasised to all Malaysians, especially new young voters.
“Moreover, the significant increase in new voters also means that MCA cannot maintain its old ways of thinking that are no longer suitable for this era, ” she said during the opening of the MCA Youth’s 56th annual general meeting on Saturday (March 6).
Last November, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan had, in a written reply to the Dewan Rakyat, noted that the implementation of the 18-year-old voting age and automatic voter registration is expected to commence at the latest by July this year.
He had said that the Election Commission (EC) was currently working with the National Registration Department to make preparations to implement automatic voter registration and other related matters.
Wong pointed out that these new voters are from those in Generation Z born between 1995 and 2010.
As such, she said their thoughts and views are very different from the generation born in the 1970s as well as those in the 1980s and early 1990s.
“Part of this difference is due to the rapid advancement of information and technology. Since this Generation Z is exposed to too much information, thus, they are easily influenced by emotional instigation.
“This is very worrying. Moreover, since this generation has wide access to various information, their loyalty to any party and leader is not like the generations before them.
“It can be said that these young voters are a ‘double-edged sword’ as their support can change at any time when there is an election.
"In the midst of this uncertainty, how can we attract the support of young voters towards MCA’s struggles and goals? This is a huge challenge, ” she said.
Nevertheless, Wong said she believed that so long as there is still the MCA Youth wing, they can work together to promote the national development plan so that these new voters can understand the struggle of MCA and their future.
“In order to focus on the lives of the youth, we must formulate a good plan, such as creating employment opportunities, reducing the burden of life, improving social welfare and others.
“What the youth wants is for their voices to be heard. MCA Youth has already listed several ideas. Therefore, we must convince the youth to give MCA a chance because MCA is the best option to chart the direction of the country. If we succeed, I am confident MCA would be able to exist for another 72 years, ” she said.
She added that although they do not have enough representation in Parliament and the state assemblies to influence the overall situation, this was not an excuse for the Youth wing to stop working and to give up on the next general election.
Wong said they have to continue to work hard and learn from their mistakes while being daring to approach the people to bridge the gap.
She added that they must listen to the voices of the people and be concerned about grassroots issues as well as help them to solve problems.
“This is what MCA should be doing. We want to tell the people, especially the Chinese community, that we have heard their message during GE14 on May 9,2018, and we have reflected on ourselves.
“This has strengthened us to continue to fight for social justice, racial harmony and the country’s development. The defeat in GE14 has given MCA an opportunity to rediscover the party's original direction and purpose which is to develop Malaysia for all, ” she said.