Youth lead­ers agree on need to en­gage young ur­ban vot­ers

New Straits Times - - News -

KOTA KIN­A­BALU: Barisan Na­sional has to en­gage young vot­ers ef­fec­tively, es­pe­cially those in ur­ban ar­eas, to win seats and the pop­u­lar vote in the 14th Gen­eral Elec­tion.

In re­ac­tion to Umno Youth chief Khairy Ja­malud­din’s re­marks on Thurs­day urg­ing BN to strive to win the pop­u­lar vote, BN youth lead­ers told the New Straits Times that it was cru­cial to get a wider man­date from the rakyat.

Sabah Umno Youth vice-chief Sha­helmey Yahya said BN had to make a stronger ap­peal to vot­ers to win the pop­u­lar vote in ur­ban ar­eas.

“This is due to the fact that ur­ban and younger vot­ers nowa­days are open minded and not so party-cen­tric.

“They go for per­son­al­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity, which are cru­cial for gain­ing trust and sup­port in ur­ban pol­i­tics.

“So, we need to win the pop­u­lar vote,” he added.

Sha­helmey said BN must also place equal em­pha­sis on win­ning older vot­ers as they had be­come more open to change.

“In ur­ban ar­eas, mid­dle-class vot­ers from the baby boomer gen­er­a­tion and Gen-X are as open-minded as the Gen-Y.

“Many mid­dle-class vot­ers are not par­ty­cen­tric,” he said.

Se­lan­gor Umno Youth chief Zain­uri Zainal said they planned to con­duct more youth­cen­tric ac­tiv­i­ties that would suit the taste of the younger gen­er­a­tion, and use the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plain why BN was the bet­ter choice to rule the coun­try.

“We must get closer to vot­ers, es­pe­cially the young ones in ur­ban ar­eas as they will re­turn to their home­towns when it is time to cast their votes, bring­ing back their ideas and opin­ions, and in­flu­enc­ing those in ru­ral ar­eas,” he said.

“It is cru­cial for BN to en­gage this group and ex­plain to them.

“It is a heavy task, but it can be done by en­gag­ing them through ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grammes that suit their taste.”

Lib­eral Demo­cratic Party (LDP) Youth Chief Tsang Hing Yee said BN should strive to win the ma­jor­ity of seats and votes in all elec­tions to gar­ner a wider man­date from the rakyat.

“With a wider man­date, the govern­ment will be able to man­age or tackle un­rea­son­able is­sues raised by ir­re­spon­si­ble quar­ters bet­ter. The govern­ment could fo­cus bet­ter on sub­stan­tive gov­er­nance and de­vel­op­ment with­out too much dis­tur­bance,” he said.

Tsang also en­cour­aged BN com­po­nent par­ties to give more op­por­tu­ni­ties to young lead­ers to play an ac­tive role dur­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grammes so that the par­ties ap­pear more ap­proach­able and get closer to young peo­ple.

United Pa­sok­mo­mo­gun Kadazan­dusun Mu­rut Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Upko) Ko­mu­lakan move­ment chief and Kota Be­lud di­vi­sion chief Ewon Benedick said it was equally im­por­tant to win the sup­port of vot­ers in ur­ban, semi-ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas.

“To me, sup­port from the peo­ple should be de­rived from the winnable poli­cies of the rul­ing party which should be prac­ti­cal and im­ple­mentable ac­cord­ing to the area, and fol­lowed by en­gage­ment pro­grammes by lead­ers of the rul­ing party on the ac­tion to pur­sue and ad­vo­cate for its im­ple­men­ta­tion,” Ewon added.

“If that is be­ing done, then BN should not worry about win­ning the sup­port of con­stituents.

“But, I agree with Khairy on the need to place greater em­pha­sis on win­ning the sup­port of ur­ban vot­ers.

“BN can­not af­ford to lose seats in the ur­ban ar­eas as it will in­di­cate the level of ac­cep­tance of the ur­ban pol­icy of the govern­ment.”

Sha­helmey Yahya

Zain­uri Zainal

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