KUCHING: The inclusion of Undi18 voters and the Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) will have profound political, economic and social impacts as it will significantly increase their participation in the country’s election process, a newspaper columnist said.
Karambir Singh said one point to take note of, following the significant increase in youth voters, was that it would be difficult to predict voting patterns and behaviour based on past elections results.
“There will be so many new variables to take into account under the new enlarged electoral roll, some expected while others are still unknown.
“It will possibly render many safe seats as marginal seats and marginal seats as unsafe. I am sure the number crunchers are hard at work with all the possible scenarios based on different probabilities,” the New Sarawak Tribune columnist said in his latest column.
Market surveys will probably be conducted in the coming months to gauge the voting patterns of the new voters brought in via the AVR.
The increased number of young voters will lead to almost doubling of voters in some state and parliamentary constituencies.
Karambir warned that no party could take any seat for granted once the 18- to 20-year-olds exercised their voting right.
Another significant impact will be the changing demographics in view of the increase in Bumiputera population which will see an increase in Bumiputera voters nationwide and possibly result in more Bumiputera elected representatives.
On the implementation of Section 3 (a) of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019 which lowers the voting age from 21 years old to 18, and Section 3(b) on the Automatic Voter Registration (AVR), Karambir said future elections would see more younger candidates.
“This might result in some surprising outcomes and upsets in an electorate wanting to see new faces and seeking change for the sake of change,” he said.
There was also the possibility of these young voters wanting to see new political parties being formed as some of them might be dissatisfied with the current choices.
When Malaysia next goes to the polls, more than two-thirds of the population will be eligible to vote.
It is estimated that there will be about 7.4 million new voters.