Make your voice heard on elec­tion day

New Straits Times - - Higher Ed - Mohd hashiM ab­dul­lah, EC chair­man

ZULITA MUSTAFA

MANY peo­ple vote be­cause they are for or against an is­sue or can­di­date. For oth­ers, vot­ing is about en­sur­ing high voter turnout in a com­mu­nity, which re­sults in greater ac­cess to elected of­fi­cials and more of a say in de­ci­sions af­fect­ing it.

Vot­ing is the cor­ner­stone of a democ­racy but, sadly, far too few peo­ple vote, es­pe­cially youths.

They have the power to make a dif­fer­ence and an im­por­tant way to achieve this is to make their voices heard at the polls on elec­tion day.

Elec­tion Com­mis­sion (EC) chair­man Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Ab­dul­lah, 63, said about 3.8 mil­lion el­i­gi­ble Malaysians have yet to reg­is­ter to vote, and the ma­jor­ity are youths.

“The trend is wor­ry­ing as the fig­ure is big. If they do not reg­is­ter, they will not be able to vote in the up­com­ing elec­tions,” he said.

Of the to­tal 18 mil­lion peo­ple el­i­gi­ble to vote across the coun­try, only 14.2 mil­lion had reg­is­tered as vot­ers by the end of last year.

Mohd Hashim added that many stu­dents are new to vot­ing and are not aware of the process.

“Aware­ness is low among univer­sity stu­dents as only 2,000 stu­dents aged 21 and above have reg­is­tered.

“They of­ten didn’t know how or where to reg­is­ter, or missed the dead­line. Stu­dents, new to vot­ing and their col­lege com­mu­nity, of­ten face prac­ti­cal hur­dles such as aware­ness of the regis­tra­tion process.

“To en­sure more stu­dents reg­is­ter, the EC is co­op­er­at­ing with the Eco­nomic Plan­ning Unit to go to the ground to set up coun­ters at uni­ver­si­ties and sub­ur­ban ar­eas where they can reg­is­ter.

“Af­ter that we will go to schools to en­sure teach­ers also reg­is­ter. If we do not take the ini­tia­tive, the num­ber of un­reg­is­tered may rise again.”

Mohd Hashim was speak­ing to un­der­grad­u­ates

Stu­dents, new to vot­ing and their col­lege com­mu­nity, of­ten face prac­ti­cal hur­dles such as aware­ness of the regis­tra­tion process.”

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