Published: Saturday June 16, 2012 MYT 3:15:00 PM
Young voters will be kingmakers in elections, says Khairy
By TEH ENG HOCK
SHAH ALAM: Young voters will be the kingmakers of the next general election, as they make up almost 40% of the electorate.
Barisan Nasional Youth chief Khairy Jamalluddin said the support of the youth would "make or break" the party's future, and called for the youth movement to continue engaging their peers.
"Calculations and projections show that the result (of the election) will depend on new voters, and many of the new voters are young voters. They will be kingmakers," he told reporters after launching the PPP Youth convention here on Saturday.
He said that research conducted early this year indicated that 62% of young voters have yet to decide on whom to vote for and Khairy called on youth leaders to reach out to them.
"Many young voters are still neutral, and we must engage them. Not through traditional political programmes like ceramahs, as most who attend ceramahs have already decided.
"We can have outreach and community projects through institutions of higher learning and non-governmental organisations," he said.
There are some two million new voters out of a total of 13 million, and Khairy said it would be a challenge convincing them as they "have a mind of their own".
"They still read the mainstream newspapers, but they also read the online portals and are active on social media. They will read everything and decide which argument they believe in," he said.
To drive the point home, Khairy, who is Rembau MP, used his constituency as an example.
"In 2008, there were 60,000 voters in Rembau, and now there are 73,000. I won by a 6,000 majority.
"If all 13,000 of new voters are against me, I can close shop," he said.
While he admitted that it was tiring to remain in a constant state of preparedness, Khairy called on Barisan youth members to continue their hard work to win over the people.
"It is very tiring with a moving election date," he said, referring to speculations which predicted the general election would be held late last year, and early and middle of this year.
He said Barisan Youth have been ready since last year and had been "sprinting a 100m race since".
"But in reality we are running a marathon at a sprinting pace," he said.