KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno divisions and branches have been ordered to immediately identify and approach 18-year-olds who are automatically registered as voters.
“We need to pay attention to this group of young voters because this group is an important and critical segment of voters that determine winners during the election,” said Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin in a statement Wednesday (Aug 23).
Bung, who is the Sabah Umno chief, said voters aged from 18 to 20 made up 16% or 6.9 million new voters that played a crucial vote to swing support for parties during the recently concluded elections in six states in Peninsular Malaysia.
Bung said these young voters were mostly influenced by campaigns through social media and generally they do not have a proper understanding of the political trends.
“They are easily influenced by populist campaigns, therefore there is a need for Umno to intensify the campaign to get close to these young voters to help them understand political situations in the country,” he added.
Many of these young voters are not tied up to any political party or fixed principles unlike older voters, he said after chairing the Sabah Umno liaison committee meeting here.
“It is important that we give them clear and accurate information about the party’s policies and struggles as well as government programmes for improving their economic status,” Bung said.
“When the party makes the approach towards these young people, it gives them an impetus to work together for Umno’s struggle,” he said, adding that the party’s Youth and Puteri wings must play their role to win over new voters.
Bung, who thanked Sabah Barisan Nasional machinery that campaigned mainly in the Selangor state election, said the eroded support for Barisan should spur them to take action to strengthen the party.
He said everyone in the party must take responsibility and not blame Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or call for his resignation.
Sabah Umno will continue to support the party president because we see the decline in support (at the polls) is “due to many factors”.
He said that a thorough postmortem should be done to improve weaknesses, and this responsibility needs to be shouldered by all party leaders at national, state, division and branch levels.
– The Star