PONTIAN, Nov 13 — Former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan called on all first-time voters, especially the youth, to exercise their democratic right in making a difference in the coming 15th general election (GE15).
She said the GE15 is the right time for young voters to change the current political landscape for a better Malaysia.
“At present, I think we have failed this generation.
“Corruption is still rampant. There is also the issue of inequality, where when we speak, we get arrested. In addition, we have environmental concerns as well.
“With that, we must give the young a chance,” said Ambiga at a Pakatan Harapan (PH) GE15 ceramah held in Taman Utama, Pekan Nenas in Tanjung Piai here last night.
The event, which saw more than 150 people present despite the poor weather was in support of Tanjung Piai’s GE15 candidate Lim Wei Jiet, who is also from the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda).
Ambiga was addressing the crowds on the record number of voters, due to the recent passing of the landmark Undi18 initiative, which has lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, and allows for all Malaysians aged above 18 to be automatically registered as voters.
According to the Election Commission (EC), 21.1 million Malaysians are eligible to vote in GE15, with nearly 1.4 million of them from the Undi18 initiative, who are aged between 18 and 20.
Ambiga, who is also a former Bersih co-chair, said the boost in the number of young voters will be the key to GE15.
She said Muda’s initiative in encouraging the younger generation to have a say in their future was commendable.
“The younger generation needs to exercise their right to vote against those who are corrupt and have no integrity,” said the 66-year-old lawyer and human rights advocate.
However, Ambiga understood that many Malaysians have become unconcerned with the GE15, with many being weary following the events after the “Sheraton Move” political crisis in 2020,
“I know it was tough for everyone due to what happened after the Sheraton Move that saw the collapse of the then ruling PH government.
“However, we now have the new anti-party hopping legislation in place as a safeguard,” she said, referring to the landmark law that bars elected representatives from switching political parties that came into effect early last month.
With that, Ambiga said GE15 must show the people’s determination for change like in 2018 which saw the collapse of the then ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
“Back then, the 14th general election (GE14) was described as the “mother of all elections”.
“There was a huge wave and Malaysians all over the world wanted to make a difference then.
“Well, there is no difference now and it is our responsibility,” said Ambiga.
With the final six days of campaigning remaining for GE15, Malaysia will go to the polls on November 19.