In Malaysia, there’s currently 2.4 million youth between the ages of 18 and 21 living in the country.
The states with the highest number of youths are Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (512,200), Sabah (364,500), Johor (279,200) and Sarawak (216,400).
Political parties now have a new terrain where they can pitch for voters. The younger Malaysian generation of voting age will have a greater say in the future of the country.
Muda, the party formed by ex-Sports Minister Syed Sadiqq is planning to make it big in this segment.
But it has a lot of competition and there are many questions unanswered about Muda.
Nevertheless, it is certain that political parties that are more agile and can adapt with our disruptive time will benefit.
It is not necessarily Muda. It can be Keadilan or other parties like Amanah and Dap that will benefit from this surge in young voters.
Why not Umno, Pas or Bersatu. All of them have their youth wing. Bersatu had a formidable youth wing, Armada.
But its gone bonkers with many having left the party to either join Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Pejuang or now, Muda.
UMNO YOUTH STILL STRONG
From this standpoint, we can say that Umno is closer to the youth thanks to its formidable youth wing.
The wing is known nationwide, has produced a lot of Umno leaders who are still involved in national politics.
Some are now ministers, of course, but it is the consistency that counts.
But the question is whether the Umno as it is today will be able to attract more youths?
The idea of a youth wing in politics is as old as the advent of political parties. The Nazi had their youth wing. The communists across the world developed a well-oiled youth wing too.
The same is for the other political formations across the globe, and some made good use of it.
The Umno is one party that made good use of its youth wing. It is a driver for grass root support for the party.
It is an established wing and is well organised to the point that fighting for its leadership gets national attention. It is also a favourite among Umno coffee shop discussion.
KEADILAN’S BROKEN RECORD
The Keadilan is perhaps one more party that had a strong youth wing but this is now volatised in thin air.
The youth wing broke down with the Azmin Ali’s group jumping ship to the Perikatan Nasional. The party may still have a strong youth lineup but it has a lot of work on its hands.
The launch of the wing was done together with the party’s official launch at the Renaissance Hotel in April 1999.
The youth chief was then Ezam Mohd Nor (1999-2005).
But will Keadilan be able to win the youth and increase its voter base?
Selangor is known as a Keadilan state where it has its strongholds. It has to develop the youth wing further in order to gain an upper hand on other parties.