NIBONG TEBAL: Young people are not letting distance and the fear of crowded areas get in the way of getting to know the politicians contesting in their constituencies in the 15th General Election.
Factory supervisor Muhammad Fareez Azhari Ghazali, 22, said he has come across many short clips of politicians on TikTok.
“I am seeing more and more political videos as we get nearer to the polling date (on Nov 19).
“Since I work in Simpang Ampat, Penang, it is hard for me to go to my hometown in Sungai Petani, Kedah, to attend ceramah during the campaigning period.
“It is easier for me to follow politicians on social media as I can get the latest updates very quickly.
“Through their social media pages, I get to know what they are fighting for as well as their manifestos,” he said when met at a food court in Simpang Ampat.
Muhammad Fareez, a first-time voter, said he hopes that the government can look into balancing the country’s education and economy.
“I studied baking and have been making pastries for four years. However, when I graduated from college, I found it difficult to get a job with decent pay.
“I had to enter an industry that I am not well-versed in and start from the bottom,” he said.
“It is really discouraging as I had put my heart and soul into getting that certificate but I could not put it to good use.”
His colleague, Aza Rozalinda Sabran, 20, said she too is depending social media to get to know politicians.
“It is actually faster and easier. We can watch the highlights of their speeches without having to spend the whole night at a ceramah,” she said.
Aza Rozalinda, who hails from Kuala Kurau, Perak, said she hopes there would be more job opportunities in small villages so youth do not have to leave their families behind to look for work in bigger cities.
“In Kuala Kurau, most of the villagers are fishermen.
“I wanted to further my studies at a university, but I had to give up my dream as my family is poor.
“There are nine of us in the family and my father is the sole breadwinner,” she said.
“Although he is an engineer and earns around RM4,000 a month, it is barely enough to support the family. My family is not entitled to receive government aid as we are not considered part of the B40 community.
“I hope that the government will look into the number of people in a household rather than just looking at the salary of the breadwinner when giving aid,” she suggested.
Factory worker Nurul Iza Hanin, 22, from Sungai Petani, Kedah, said “Gen Z” preferred to attend online campaigns as these were more accessible.
Generation Z, also called “zoomers”, refers to those born in the late 1990s to early 2000s.
“As a first-time voter, I get to watch all the campaigns online and make my decision on who to vote for.
“At the end of the day, we hope for leaders who are honest, fight for the people’s rights, and improve the economy,” said Nurul Iza.
Another first-time voter, university student Jeremy Lau, 21, said he would conduct thorough research before deciding who to vote for.
“I’ve always been interested in politics and for the past five years, we have seen changes in the government.
“I have a rough idea of which party or politician is more capable.
“I read a lot of articles online and some findings do validate my thoughts. I also talk to people around me to better understand the leader I am going to vote for.
“The top three criteria that I look for are the candidate’s vision for the constituency, their track record, and their personality,” he added.
Following the implementation of Undi18, all Malaysians aged 18 or older as of Dec 31, 2021, were automatically registered in the electoral roll.