The general election surprise: younger Malays too went to Barisan

The Malaysian Insider
August 16, 2013

Here’s what was expected: Pakatan Rakyat (PR) comfortably won the battle for first-time and younger voters in Election 2013. Here’s what was not expected: Barisan Nasional (BN) snared more Malay votes in this category of voters.

Going into the elections, the general line was that PR would obtain the bulk of the first-time and young Malaysian vote because its focus on a range of issues, including corruption, would be attractive to younger voters.

Also, the Opposition had a stronger slate of young politicians like Rafizi Ramli, Nurul Izzah Anwar and Liew Chin Tong who found support among young Malaysians.

But Ibrahim Suffian of Merdeka Center sounded a note of caution for the opposition pact on this thinking. He noted that the majority of first-time Malay and young Malay voters gave their support to BN, suggesting that the Opposition has not done enough to convince young Malays that their future was secure with PAS, PKR and DAP.

And Ibrahim noted that this segment is only going to get larger in coming elections, due to the higher birth rate among Malays.

Given the changing population profile, Malays will be an even larger chunk of new voters in future polls than the nearly two-thirds, or 64.17% of new voters, registered this year.

So PR would have to continue refining its position on Malay rights and cobble together a plan with an emphasis on job and wealth creation.

The voting pattern of young and first-time voters was collated by the respected pollster Merdeka Center as part of its study of the recent general election.

There are five voting channels and each represents an age group. The pollster said that based on the electoral rolls used on election day there were some 2.7 million more voters, and the influx of new voters was more pronounced in mixed and urban seats.

Of the five channels or groups, the youngest group of under 30s was 64.17% Malay. The voter turnout overall for all races in this group of first-time and young voters was a hefty 83.22%. Of those, just over half, or 52.96%, voted for PR.

But those older than this group were more inclined to vote for the Opposition. In the 31-40 age group, 54.25% voted for PR.

The ethnic composition of this latter group was 53.12% Malays, 29.28% Chinese, 7.61% Indians and 10% others. The voter turnout was about the same as the younger group, at 83.47%.

“Pakatan Rakyat will have no choice but to reach out to the Malays, tackle their fears about the position of Malays and at the same time put forward a comprehensive economic plan,” noted Ibrahim. – August 16, 2013

  1. #1 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 9:16 am

    Who were the first time malay voters. Children of civil servants, cronies and armed forces would likely vote umno. And these voters could make up a very large number. Dont forget, we have an oversized civil service. And well over 95% of them are malays – malays who are either totally fearful of umno or have been profoundly indoctrinated by umno’s BTN warped ideas.

  2. #2 by sheriff singh on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 9:19 am

    DAP is doomed next time around.

  3. #3 by digard on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 10:15 am

    And it isn’t (their future secure with PAS, PKR and DAP). At least not in the sense in which many of them would like to. As a university lecturer, I met sufficient students, who would give up anything to retain their privileges. How many of the Malay students, assembled to obtain exam questions before the exam, would walk out in disgust? Saying that they can manage without an advantage compared to non-Malay students? In my own experience, not 5%. I have experienced two sets of questions; one for Malays and one for the others. No Malay has objected.

    I would very much appreciate if PR were not to imply an over-secure and pampered future to the young Malay voters. Because there isn’t. Less so with BN, even. Because BN brings down the whole country, and with it, also the Malays. I agree, the Malays would come down last with BN on the spiral down; but the perspective is frustrating anyway, isn’t it?
    It would be very wrong if all and anything that PR was keen on, was the majority. The mindset needs to change, and it must change. As long as BN manages to instill fear and at the same time the feeling of safety in the adolescents, there is no change in Malaysia.
    As long as the majority of the future Malaysians want to be fed without adequate hard work, there is only a bleak future for the opposition.

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 10:25 am

    PAS should do some brainstorming as to why it failed to attract Malay voters in GE13.

    • #5 by Di Shi Jiu on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 12:26 pm


      I am mindful that I am not a member of ANY political party, and I am writing on a DAP forum, so I feel I must be as polite as I can when discussing Pakatan issues :)

      PAS should be pro-active and more vocal in condemning issues which make Islam look intolerant, e.g. the recent surau issue.

      Calls for the demolition of the surau appear to have had been cleverly defused by Nazri Aziz, who quickly stepped into the breach playing the rational clear-thinking tolerant role.

      All around the democratic world, religion-based political parties do seem to have difficulties engaging the voting public. Fear of religious hardliners appears to be the most common thread.

      I am quite sure that the leadership group in PAS is aware of everything I have mentioned, so it is not my place to tell them what to do or not to do :)

  5. #6 by Bigjoe on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 11:30 am

    This is why Lee Kuan Yew said that PR also have to maintain racial policies and Singapore will always be better because of it..

  6. #7 by sheriff singh on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 11:47 am

    As is just revealed, about 10% of youths are unemployed. Maybe this is why they voted BN in the hope that the government will help them by giving them all sorts of goodies and payouts.

    Incidentally, Shanghai Jiao Tong’s annual University rankings was released yesterday 15th August. Only ONE Malaysian university made it to the top 500 in the world – University of Malaya ranked in the 401-500 range as in last year.

    And with the A level results also released yesterday, the UK is looking forward to having more of our students applying to UK Universities. Brain drain again. Yet our youths remain largely unemployed looking for government handouts.

  7. #8 by Di Shi Jiu on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 11:48 am

    With 20/20 hindsight, I can say that the rural federal seats were not convinced enough to change to a better government in PR.

    Stating the bleeding obvious is easy. It is a lot more difficult to come up with a concerted campaign to show the rural population that PR can deliver better outcomes than BN.

    Sabah and Sarawak are still problematic with disunities amongst potential allies. The huge number of rural federal seats there are yet to be tapped.

    The forthcoming batch of first-time GE14 young voters are important.

    The forthcoming batch of first-time GE14 young RURAL voters are even more important.

    Perhaps urban youths could reach out to their compatriots out in the rural areas and devise ways of getting the message to the rural folk.

    I do not intend to disclose any further suggestions here in a public forum. :)

  8. #9 by Winston on Friday, 16 August 2013 - 10:42 pm

    The young Malay votes who gave their votes to UMNO/BN obviously don’t know much about the Devils and their handiwork!!!!
    And this failing must be laid at the door of the PR for not doing a good job!
    I have always been wondering whether the suggestions posted here, especially the good ones, ever get to the attention of leaders of the party.
    Or do they just stay here???
    And rot!!!!

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