Undergraduates in Sarawak have been advised to focus on their studies and not get distracted by the politics of the opposition.
While agreeing that the young are “free to chose” their political affiliations, Deputy Works Minister Yong Khoon Seng said they should, however, prioritise their studies and future.
Yong’s comments at the opening of the National Undergraduates Fellowship at the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) headquarters recently speaks of its concern with the political alliances of the young voters in Sarawak.
Sarawak has about 300,000 young voters, including the undergraduates. According to past reports these young voters make up some one-third of Sarawak’s registered voters.
Yong, who is Stampin MP, urged the young not to be “overly” involved in politics.
“Getting to know what is going on in society doesn’t mean you should get your feet wet or be involved in any political activities and illegal rallies.
“You are free to choose which political party you want to join but concentrate on your studies first,” he said.
Yong hoped that as “matured individuals”, the young will “will learn to view issues from various angles and not get easily carried away by certain quarters”.
Stampin under threat
Yong’s speech was also aimed at the youths in his Stampin constituency.
The Barisan Nasional coalition of which SUPP is a member is facing an upward battle to retain the Stampin parliamentary seat.
The Stampin constituency has 75,798 voters (according to last year’s electoral rolls), of which 53,417 voters are Chinese. The rest are Dayaks.
Following last April’s state election, three state constituencies – Batu Kawah, Batu Lintang and Kota Sentosa – fell to the opposition. DAP now holds Batu Kawah and Kota Sentosa while PKR has Batu Lintang. All three seats come under the Stampin parliamentary constituency.
The swing towards the opposition, especially in the urban and semi-urban seats, was attributed to the increasing number of young voters in the state.
According to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak political analyst Jeniri Amir, young voters are exposed to the new media and know exactly what they want.
“They, together with the rural young voters, are very much concerned with issues related to good governance and clean leadership, as well as employment.
“These voters are the more idealistic type of voters [and therr impressions will have] far-reaching effects,” he reportedly said, adding that a study conducted by the university showed that only 20% of the Chinese youths were happy with government policies.