PETALING JAYA: The mighty grassroots of the political parties are all geared up to roll out their election machinery for the 15th General Election (GE15), especially in their power bases in the divisions and branches.
Besides electoral activities, there are also nearly eight million new voters to woo and the year-end monsoon floods to prepare for.
MCA Youth chief Datuk Nicole Wong said the election machinery at the youth level is ready and they are now in the final stage of strengthening the election machinery in all divisions.
“The youth election machinery is on standby and will start mobilising support from the voters whenever Parliament is dissolved,” she said when contacted yesterday.
Wong said social media will be the battlefield for MCA Youth.
Engaging with youth is crucial, added Wong, as the Election Commission (EC) has predicted that the lowered voting age from 21 to 18 along with automatic voter registration will add another 7.8 million voters to the electoral roll, representing a more than 50% increase in voters from GE14.
“We’ve begun setting up accounts on social media platforms, which will be our main focus to reach young voters. We will try to effectively address core issues affecting the youth and engage them on social media,” she said.
Umno Youth is also ready for the polls. Its chief, Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, said preparations at its 191 divisions are at a satisfactory level.
Asyraf Wajdi, who is also Barisan Nasional Youth chief, said the youth machinery is ready to move anytime the polls are called.
Meanwhile, PKR’s Selangor Youth chief Izuan Kasim said the wing was prepared for the possibility of an election as early as February 2020, when the Sheraton Move took place.
He said that following the Sheraton move, the political situation in the country had been shaky and a snap election was expected.
“Selangor PKR Youth has made some preparations to face GE15 after the Sheraton Move took place, as the government formed following that was unstable,” he said.
He added that to win first-time voters and fence-sitters, the state youth wing will be fielding fresh faces.
“We will also deliver the information to the Selangor people on how success has been achieved since the time the Pakatan Rakyat (now Pakatan Harapan) coalition took over the state’s administration,” he said.
However, he added that there is no need for the government to hold the polls this year, especially when the country is facing the threat of floods.
Izuan also said Selangor PKR Youth has been receiving assistance from the central party leadership in terms of election strategies as well as polling and counting agent (PACA) programmes.
The new party, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda), said it has instructed all its machinery to be prepared to face any possibility, including the year-end floods.
Selangor Muda communication chief Dr Siva Prakash said that while they are very much against GE15 being held during the monsoon season, they will be left with little choice should the polls be called this year.
While preparing for their debut in the general election, Muda will also be focusing on getting aid ready for possible floods.
“Our priority is to prepare for the possible flood and unleash the machinery to support the red zone,” he said.
He added that being a newly established party based on offering service-oriented politics to fellow Malaysians, Muda is not cash-rich and is collecting public funds to support its machinery.
“We are working on a series of crowdfunding activities and are dependent on donations from good Samaritans,” he said.
On Muda’s game plan for GE15, he said the youth-led party has Malaysians at the heart of everything it does and believes that its actions will speak louder than words to win votes in the election.
Meanwhile, PAS Youth will be launching its election machinery on Oct 1 in Besut, Terengganu, in preparation for GE15.
PAS Youth chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari said the launch will be attended by all party leaders and youth members.
“However, we expect that GE15 will not be held this year but next year,” he said.
Human rights lawyer Siti Kasim, who is contesting the Batu parliamentary seat as an Independent candidate, said that she will have to gear up if the national polls are held this year.
She added that the current circumstances are uncertain and she had been ready for any situation.
“I believe, on the grassroots level, I’m already recognised by some members of the public for my efforts on certain issues (mainly regarding human rights). And for that, I’m ready to face the election if I have to this year,” she said.
Despite preparing for the polls, Siti said she is still slightly confident that the election would not be held this year, adding: “Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is clever enough not to hold it within the next few months”.
As for financing her campaigns, Siti said she has been lucky enough to secure some sponsors for her election drive. She has also been going on the ground to crowdfund for her service centre.
“People thought we needed a lot of money to run a campaign, especially with money politics heavily involved.
“But I believe that we don’t need much as long as we are sincere enough in our struggles for the rakyat. The voters are clever enough to make a choice that is in line with their struggles,” added Siti, who is a candidate under the Gerak Independent Movement.
Gerak, a group of Independent individuals, has announced that it will field 10 candidates in GE15.
It named six of them as lawyer-activist Siti herself, former MP Tawfik Ismail, former journalist Charles CJ Chow, social activist Raveentheran Suntheralingam, activist KJ John and Sabah-based lawyer Roland Cheng.–The Star