There is a special coverage on Gen Y voters in The Star today.
Unlike our light but sceptical piece on the Gen Y yesterday here, The Star article attribute more leverage to them.
In the next general election, they are the power broker. Four out of ten voters are likely to be from Gen Y. They are the bulk of the non partisan fence-seaters, hard to predict and it could go either way.
Both sides are working hard to gain ground in this segment of voters. BN has its recent Youth Fair to present their commitment to youth. Anwar used Occupy Dataran to make PTPTN an issue to gain ground with the Gen Y.
In a conversation with a youth leader this afternoon, he see appeasing Gen Y is a challenge with their unrealistic demands and focus his effort on the Gen Z.
Like it or not, the Gen Y is here to stay.
During the 1999 general election and in the midst of the 1998-99 reformasi era, the opposition accused that 300,000 new voters were denied by the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir to vote.
They claimed those young voters will come to haunt him and Barisan Nasional in the next general election.
The opposition can spin any accusations but there is a cut-off for the electoral rolls. That situation did not materialised. Realising the impact of young voters then, Dr Mahathir created Puteri to attract the bulk of educated young voters, which are primarily ladies. That helped Tun Abdullah immensely.
Dr Mahathir retired at the end of 2003 and Tun Abdullah went on to win the 2004 general election handsomely as a new broom. The impact of youth as new voters in the outcome of a general election could not be ascertain.
That was as good as it last until the 2008 disaster for Barisan Nasional of 2008 where it lost 5 states and the Federal Territory and was denied two third majority in Parliament.
Nevertheless, Tun Abdullah did reached out to the youth then through his Human Capital or Modal Insan program and giving the very young and uninitiated positions in his Government.
However, it's economic program lacked specific and substance to follow-up its lofty ideals and many slogans and cliches generated. It led to disaster after disaster and is the cause of political problems facing UMNO today.
That was also the advent of Internet and electronic voices were gaining place in Malaysia.
Almost 15 years later after Reformasi and that group of youngsters have reached mid-life or in their 40s and mature. But they were not sufficiently large to determine the outcome of elections.
The chance missed by Gen X or those born in 1966-1979 will sure to be taken up by the Gen Ys or those born in 1980-2001.
Read The Star article below:
The Star Online > Nation
Saturday June 9, 2012
‘Generation Y’ voters may decide the outcome of 13th GE
By RAZAK AHMAD
PETALING JAYA: Four out of every 10 newly registered voters are under the “Generation Y” category who may decide the outcome of the 13th general election.
With this in mind, both the Barisan Nasional and the Opposition are going all-out to woo this almost inscrutable voters.
Of the 12,912,590 registered voters in the latest gazetted electoral roll, 5,175,096 or 40% are between 21 and 39 years old.
“Generation Y” defines those in the tech-savvy age group, born between the 1980s and 2000.
They are often described as “independent-minded and their political loyalties are not fixed” due to their wider access to information.
“Most are fence-sitters who will wait until the end,” said Universiti Sains Malaysia lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, who conducted a survey of 1,500 young voters recently.
“Both sides of the political divide will have to work really hard until the 11th hour to persuade these young voters.”
The Y factor: (From left) Young voters Nik Michael Imran, 22, Amos Lim Sze Mun, 21, Al Yashir Yahaya, 23, Farahnur Ayu Aminuddin, 23, Tanarohini Jayabalan, 23, and Jasdeep Singh Bhullar, 23, checking their voter status online. — NORAFIFI EHSAN / The Star
Voters above the age of 40, who make up 60% of the electorate, “are more or less fixed supporters of either BN or the Opposition with both sides having an almost equal share of support,” said Universiti Teknologi Mara lecturer Assoc Prof Shaharuddin Badaruddin.
He said the younger voters, who made up the bulk of the “fence-sitters”, could tilt the outcome of polls either way.
Election Commission deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar concurred: “They don't just follow what others say. If one looks from this perspective, then the young voters may be the deciders, although no one can confidently say for sure.”
Since 2008, both the BN and Pakatan Rakyat have had their eyes on the “Generation Y” voters.
However, neither side has been able to accurately predict their voting behaviour.
“All our strategies and policies since 2008 have been targeted towards the younger voters,” said BN Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.
“We have known since then that a big slice of the voters in the next election will be in this group,” he added.
He said the number of “fence-sitters” among younger voters remained high at about 65%, adding that the figure was expected to drop gradually as polling day nears.
The “Generation Y” vote is also a priority for the Pakatan.
PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan said 40% of the party candidates would be between 30 and 45 years old as part of its efforts to court young voters.
“Young voters are mostly non-partisan, so we still have to reach out to them and convince them that we are the ones who can best represent them,” he said.
The problem for the competing political parties are that the Gen Ys are most unpredictable and not understood lots, particularly the Malaysian variant with its own unique racial and regional variations.
The Star Online > Nation
Saturday June 9, 2012
Hard to predict who young voters will support
PETALING JAYA: If there's one trait that Malaysia's “Generation Y” voters have in common, it's the wide variety of sources from which they obtain their views and information.
But the issues they hold dear are also varied, making it difficult to foresee where this highly-prized voting group would throw its support.
For first-time voter Nurul Nadirah Faznin Narawi, 22, her main concern was choosing a candidate from a party that could best steer the country to continued development.
She registered as a voter in her hometown of Sungai Besar, Selangor, last year.
The student of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Tanjung Malim, Perak, said family members, all of whom actively followed the latest political developments, kindled her interest in national issues.
For Chong Choon Hau, 26, the biggest issue was employment and more development, especially in his hometown of Mentakab, Pahang.
“There are still many youths who have to move to the cities for better jobs, so I want someone who can help further increase job opportunities for younger people,” said Chong, who teaches at a school in the small town of Lanchang near Mentakab.
Chong signed up as a voter during a registration programme organised by the MCA.
Al Yashir Yahaya, 23, said many of his friends relied mainly on the Internet to keep abreast of politics “but some do not have a balanced perspective on issues”.
The bank employee said that after gaining exposure to campus politics at Multimedia University, he registered as a voter last year in his hometown of Gopeng, Perak.
Assistant information technology manager Anandh Inbarraju, 26, said he followed the latest political developments through various sources.
Citing an example, Anandh said while he agreed with some of the points made by organisers of the Bersih 3.0 rally, such as greater transparency in elections, he disagreed with the unruly actions of some of the protesters.
How do one deals and understand this Gen Ys?
While our posting yesterday highlighted the indifference, inadequate social skills, over dependence, perception of lacking commitment, and other negative attributes of this generation, more of their characteristic need to be understood.
Below are a few common traits that define Generation Y from About.com here:
Tech-Savvy: Generation Y grew up with technology and rely on it to perform their jobs better. Armed with BlackBerrys, laptops, cellphones and other gadgets, Generation Y is plugged-in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This generation prefers to communicate through e-mail and text messaging rather than face-to-face contact and prefers webinars and online technology to traditional lecture-based presentations.
Family-Centric: The fast-track has lost much of its appeal for Generation Y who is willing to trade high pay for fewer billable hours, flexible schedules and a better work/life balance. While older generations may view this attitude as narcissistic or lacking commitment, discipline and drive, Generation Y have a different vision of workplace expectations and prioritize family over work.
Achievement-Oriented: Nurtured and pampered by parents who did not want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, Generation Y is confident, ambitious and achievement-oriented. They have high expectations of their employers, seek out new challenges and are not afraid to question authority. Generation Y wants meaningful work and a solid learning curve.
Team-Oriented: As children, Generation Y participated in team sports, play groups and other group activities. They value teamwork and seek the input and affirmation of others. Part of a no-person-left-behind generation, Generation Y is loyal, committed and wants to be included and involved.
Attention-Craving: Generation Y craves attention in the forms of feedback and guidance. They appreciate being kept in the loop and seek frequent praise and reassurance. Generation Y may benefit greatly from mentors who can help guide and develop their young careers.
Talk about mentoring, the chart below derived their mentoring needs in comparison to the Gen X:
The generational comparison are as the charts below:
Hopefully, the generational bias could be reduced in our conclusion.
The best description to summarise the Gen Y character is high expectations. Gen Y comes with the character of confidence, ambitous and achievement oriented. And they could be quite the attention seeker.
Being a product of a pampered and nurtured environment of their insecured parents, Gen Y were not let loose to acquire the traditionalist value of sacrifice, hardwork and independence. It made them into a group-reliant generation.
The advent of technology and its communication capability only reinforce this characteristic which is an extension of their childhood environment. It explain their indecisiveness as individual and group dependence in making decision, thus Gen Y are open to peers influence.
Being connected technologically and less face to face communication, Gen Y is short in social skills.
Politically, ... their high expectations makes them a generation that is unafraid to make demands, even how unrealistic it maybe.
Anwar realised this as he incite Occupy Dataran Merdeka with the unreasonable PTPTN demands as an issue. Only high tax countries could provide free tertiary education.
He forsaken his Islamic agenda and applied the openness, liberalism ideology and diversity to the hilt.
However, Barisan Nasional realised another expect of the Gen Y character and never have a Government pamper to the needs and imagination of youth as the annually held Youth Fair and Exhibition. Games, entertainment, education, employment, and diverse interests were featured to attract their attention.
Unlike Baby Boomer and Gen X that still remain within some existence of rules and institutions, Gen Y simply wish to rewrite rules and see no relevance to institution. They have indifferent attitude with the past and see the future still open to possibilities.
Looks like the game for the Gen Y voters will be Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat trying to push that high expectation to beyond reasonableness and it will be Barisan Nasional trying to fulfill them and taming it within reasons.
Anwar applies his 1970s political revolution mode and appealed to their liberal political and economic leaning. He catches the imagination of the urban educated politically conscious youth and has visibly attracted support.
Unlike Anwar, Najib is more for an open ended evolution. He has personally got their attention but not enough to pull the attention to the party still stuck with images of old stoic warlords. It is a challenge to make a party that ruled the country for more than 55 years to look "cool."
Najib projects the image of change through his pragmatic and measured transformation plan and responsive appeal to the rakyat's needs. The likelihood is he is gaining appeal to the needs of the silence and undecided.
The one able to translate their political message into the dominating view in the "group" and exert "peer" influence on the Gen Y will have the advantage. It requires more than cyber presence.
Because that slight advantage could determine who will occupy Putrajaya.