Watch out for us, Gen Undi18!

05 May 2021 / 13:15 H.

RECENTLY, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan confirmed that those between 18 and 20 years old will be allowed to vote.

This assurance came following reports that the Election Commission (EC) had wanted to postpone the process to next year.

As someone who’s recently turned 20, I’d say that my peers and I are elated over the news! Why so? Because our cohort is a misunderstood group.

Now that we can make our voices heard at the ballot box, I believe the government and aspiring policy-makers can start to take us more seriously.

For example, when news emerged that the #Undi18 move would be postponed to next year, critics accused the government of being fearful of the young.

Painting us with a broad brush does not do justice to who we are. We are among Malaysia’s first generation who had grown up with the internet widely accessible and plugged in to a global village.

We have world views unlike our forefathers. The “seniors” may find some of us to be socially awkward and some even labelled us as the “marshmallow generation” purportedly because we are less “resilient” but these “seniors” are just looking at things from outdated biases.

We are unique in our own way and going through a transformation unlike any our seniors have seen.

There are now a host of issues that lawmakers will have to consider the views from what I would call the “#Undi18 Generation” – issues that were not as pervasive even five to 10 years ago.

For example, as someone who’s on the verge of graduating from a local university, I am worried about housing affordability.

Lawmakers will now have to seek out solutions to such woes that were never so pressing before.

Another issue that hit home for the “Gen #Undi18” is internet connectivity.

For MPs and ADUNs, many of whom live through the analogue era, they would have to familiarise themselves and confront the issues head on.

The voice of the young in Malaysia is set to get louder with #Undi18 now almost as good as a done deal.

Far from fearing the young would dilute the voice of older voters, #Undi18 which received bipartisanship support in the past, should be seen as a transformative move to leapfrog Malaysia into the next phase of our growth.

For that and from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all MPs and the government who made #Undi18 a reality! It is for the betterment of the country, really.

CK Lim
UPM student
Taman Sri Serdang

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