“After months of speculation and years of political turmoil, Malaysia will hold early general elections on November 19.

Unlike the last election, Malaysia’s 15th General Election (GE15) will see a vastly expanded electorate thanks to a 2019 constitutional amendment that lowered the voting age to 18 and instituted automatic voter registration. But for all the excitement about the ‘youth vote,’ political parties have done little to appeal to young voters.

“To put the numbers into perspective, the electorate will grow by a staggering 41 percent since the last election in 2018 in large part because of newly registered youth. First-time voters aged 18 to 20 will account for nearly seven percent of Malaysia’s roughly 21 million voters, while those aged 21 to 29 make up an additional 22 percent.

“Malaysians who have come of age in recent years have little reason to be inspired by the country’s politics. Youth who pushed the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition to a historic victory over the Barisan Nasional coalition in 2018 watched with dismay as the reformist government was toppled after just 22 months in power and replaced by elements of the party they helped defeat at the polls. …”

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