Youth Participation

In the Malaysian House of Representatives, there are 27 MPs under 40 years old (12%), with two under 30. The youngest one is 22 years old when he was elected in the 2018 general election. However, many established political parties seldom open up to the young and capable grassroots members to take part in the parties as the leadership positions are mostly taken by older party members.

A survey of Malaysian youth opinion conducted by the Asia Foundation in 2012 shows that among the youth of voting age (21 years old and above), 73% have registered to vote. Voter registration is lowest among the 21 and 22 years old. However, the voting registration rates rise tremendously starting from 25 years old, then until 35 years old, 92% have registered. The northern region has the highest level of young voter registration at 60%, the central region and East Malaysia at 49% and 44% respectively, which is the lowest number.

Most of the reasons given were lack of time to register and a dislike of politics, which are the top two reasons for non-registered youth. Other reasons are unsure of where to register and unsure of the procedure for registration. It shows a lack of voter awareness and education.

Malaysian youth are politically aware as they are acknowledged of policies and can critically assess the performance of various institutions. They are more open to choosing a political party that represents the interests of the people regardless of race and religion (71%). However, they perceive themselves as less empowered to act. Only 41% of youth said they could influence how the government works. The youth often think that they are wasting their time when their opinions are unheard of chucked aside.


Asia Foundation, The Youth Factor 2012 Survey of Malaysian Youth Opinion, 2012,


PDF : The Importance of Issues for the Youth in Voter Decision Making: A Case Study among University Students in Malaysia (Sivamurugan Pandian: 2014)
PDF : The Youth Factor: Survey of Malaysian Youth Opinion- The Asia Foundation (2012)
PDF : University Students and Voting Behavior in General Elections: Perceptions on Malaysian Political Parties Leadership (Canadian Center of Science and Education: 2014)
Link : Rise of young voters shifts Malaysia election balance (Reuters, 29 April 2013)

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