GEORGE TOWN, Aug 12 — The new voting age of 18 as passed by Dewan Rakyat through an amendment in the Federal Constitution has got 14-year-olds thinking since they would potentially be first-time voters if the 15th general election (GE15) were to be held in four years.
Some teenagers as Bernama found in a random survey, saw the Dewan Rakyat decision as an opportunity to voice their opinion and play a role in choosing the government.
Form Two student Siti Sara Dina Mohd Fairoz, 14, from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Abdullah Munshi, opined that being eligible to vote would encourage potential young voters to learn about nation-building, a topic which they are not so concerned about.
“I have to admit I am not that ready at 18 to vote as I would have just finished school, and politics would probably be the furthest thing on my mind. I don’t think I would be thinking then about which parties are contesting and whatnot.
“So if I do get the chance to vote, I probably would, just following friends. Nevertheless, there is still time for us to understand the general election process and formation of the country. It should help us to make our decision,” she told Bernama.
To this end, she hoped schools and the government could organise relevant briefings to educate youngsters her age.
Form 4 student Nurmuzfirah Mohamed Rabi, 16, from Methodist Girls’ School believes that the lower voting age has advantages and disadvantages.
Admittedly, she said, her knowledge of local politics was basic, hence schools needed to give more exposure to students by providing adequate information on politics and current issues.
“From the positive point of view, we will be able to have a say. If we have a representative of our age, I feel the voice of the younger generation would be better heard. That representative could also bridge the gap for us.
“However, in terms of age, I feel that 18 would be too young. The representative would somehow struggle as he or she might have a lot of catching up to do, to be in tandem with the more matured representatives.
Meanwhile, secondary school teacher Sarah Majidah Mohd Rozani, 32, said students could acquire much knowledge and facts about politics and nation-building in the History subject in school.
Furthermore in this information era, she said, a whole world of knowledge is at one’s fingertips, hence students should not have any problem in accessing information, be it from the internet, newspapers or news portals. — Bernama