Johor could be first test for Undi18 era

JOHOR BARU: Should the much talked about snap polls in Johor take off, a new order of Undi18 voters will be expected to cast their ballot for the first time in Malaysia.

If a state election is called in Johor, there would be a huge pool of first time voters, said Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia political analyst Dr Mohd Akbal Abdullah.

“This will definitely change the political landscape not only in Johor but also throughout the country with parties trying to woo this group of fresh voters.

“The state election, if it happens, would be a testing ground for many political parties before the next general election (GE15),” he said.

Young voters such as university students are now very much politically aware as they can obtain information on their mobile phones or gadgets, he said when contacted.

As such, Mohd Akbal said, political parties would need to change their strategies to clinch support from this group of voters.

He said young voters would feel alienated if political parties were resorting to the same methods, citing the fielding of the same election candidates.

“Political parties should field fresh candidates who have professional backgrounds to attract new voters as well as their supporters,” he added.

The Undi18 Bill, which lowered the minimum voting age to 18 from 21, came into force on Dec 15 last year.

On Jan 6, the Johor assembly amended its state constitution to follow suit.

On the much speculated state polls, Mohd Akbal said the winning party would be heading to GE15 with much confidence.

“Barisan Nasional will be in a good position if a state election is held due to their landslide victory in the Melaka state election compared to Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional,” he added.

The Umno-led government in Johor has a simple majority, with 28 seats against Pakatan Harapan’s 27. One seat was left vacant after the passing of Bersatu assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian last month.

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