Is PH losing the plot with youths?

Youths are abandoning PH

The joy of Malaysian voters in changing the government in 2018 is a dream come true. 

I know this is a statement one either agrees or disagrees. But the dream has come true when change finally happened for Malaysians.

It was an historic moment to see a big change in the Malaysian political landscape with the old and new administration coming into the picture.

I would rather say, almost the same in terms of who administered the government but not the same in terms of the league and ways of managing the country. 

Congratulations to Pakatan Harapan for a year of strong standing which Malaysian citizens were looking forward to so much for so many years.

So 13 months after the euphoric win, what has it meant for the people especially the youths, who were instrumental in the change.

Looks like some are happy and some of the others are not so. What has happened in this one year?

Well, voting is not only our right, but it is also our power. When we vote, we take back our power to choose, to speak up and to stand with those who support us and each other. 

At this stage, Malaysians must get together and work for the best. I am sure that no one wants to destroy the life that we have now, but it can happen if you just watch and do nothing.

PH has received tremendous number suggestions and criticisms from the people, both locally and internationally. 

Since GE14, Malaysia has always been in the limelight for discussions on political change. The gains from the victory of May 9 2018 cannot be overstated. 

Many analysts and academics rated PH’s first year of governance as underwhelming. Malaysians were putting unrealistically high expectations on PH and the biggest success didn’t happen.

Despite this, PH is still strongly tied and united with the four-party PH government and it hasn’t fallen apart. 

Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed. To be a strong government, PH needs to step up its performance, credibility, accountability, be more politically savvy and most importantly improve the economy.

It cannot be denied that PH is having a tough time fulfilling the promises made before. Its also finding it hard to cope with people’s dissatisfaction with the slow pace of economic, leadership, political and institutional reforms. 

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the main focus of the people especially on his skills of navigating political landmines.

The eyes are also on him to see how he steers the new government’s narrative towards its long-term strategy to strengthen Malaysia’s socio-economic development and social harmony.

But it looks like PH has lost the narrative and plot with the youths.

An interesting fact to share here is that PH is reportedly fast losing the support of Malaysians in their 20s less than a year after taking power.

This is acccording to a year-long study conducted by market research firm KAJIDATA Research, which specialises in public, commercial and socio-political intelligence. 

It is their mission to see beyond data and unearth actionable insights. 

The research tracked the political leanings of 9,071 Malaysians aged 21 years and above between Jan 1 and Dec 1 last year. 

The data showed that overall satisfaction with PH had slipped by 16.4 percentage points as of December. The biggest fall was recorded among those aged 20 to 29, at 20.6 points. 

KAJIDATA Research reported that the large drop within the youth bracket suggest that they may have become disillusioned with PH's management of the economy. 

Data shows youths who before GE14 were the most likely to support PH, have now become the most likely to oppose it due to this significant factor. 

Youths have the least economic confidence on PH and this plays an important role in determining the PH ‘report card’ as it struggles to retain the people’s confidence.

PH needs to address this decline in youth support before the next general election, which is due in 2022, as young voters are among the biggest fence-sitters who have yet to solidify their political allegiances. 

One year has gone by and PH cannot fail in its mission to make sure the country is a better Malaysia than before. 

Voters especially the youth place their hope in PH since day one after the historic GE14 win.

Please don’t let them down and keep on with the ‘hard work’ to make them feel the change that has been made.

Make it meaningful for all of us PH. The people have chosen you and you are accountable with the power in your hands.

Associate Professor Dr. Noor Sulastry Yurni Dato’ Ahmad

Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business

Universiti Utara Malaysia Kuala Lumpur