GE15 Elections: Vote for a Change. Exercise Your Rights!

Ready to make a change at Malaysia’s GE15? We discuss what you should know before polling day.

Here we are, us Malaysians, standing in the thick of our country’s 15th general elections (GE), with polling day just around the corner. This November 19, we’ll be given the chance to exercise our right as citizens of this parliamentary democracy we call home. 

What more is how with automatic voter registration and the minimum voting age being lowered from 21 to 18 years-old, GE15 will be facing a wave of around 5.8 million newly eligible voters, increasing the voter count by approximately 40%. That’s incredible!

Double-check that you’ve registered as a voter at here.

However, if you’re anything like me, you might be feeling completely lost as to who to vote for  when faced with the ballot, especially as a first time voter. With how colourful our political scene has been since GE14, it sure isn’t an easy decision for any of us. Yet, here we are again — still positive we CAN make a change in our government.

I certainly cannot give you the answer on who to choose, but here are some helpful considerations to know what you’re voting for that I’d picked up during my search on how to vote:

Voting in Malaysia = Change in Candidate, Party, and Coalition as a Package

On polling day, we’re given the chance to vote for the candidate whom we wish to represent our constituency in parliament or Dewan Rakyat. It’s worth noting however, that most candidates to date aren't fully independent. Many belong to a political party and are often part of a general alliance. For GE15, we have three main contesting coalitions: Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional, and Perikatan Nasional, with each having several parties under them. 

If the candidate of your choice is in a party or coalition of your liking, then you seem to have nothing to worry about. However, if you’re supportive of one and not the other, these considerations may help bring things into perspective:

Two girls taking a picture of their fingers marked with indelible ink.

Picture source: The Star

Do you want to make a change in Malaysia? A degree in law or international studies could kickstart your career in politics. Enquire with our education counsellor today!

3 Things to Consider When Voting For Your Government During GE15

A Simple Majority Determines the Government 

Malaysia’s election process is based on the ‘first-past-the-post’ system, whereby the candidate with the most votes wins the individual constituency. Following that, the formation of a government is then based on majoritarian principles, where the majority is defined as 50%+1. That means that the party or coalition that has at least 112 of their candidates seated in the Dewan Rakyat, out of the 222 seats in total, will form our new government. Hence, making them the key decision makers for the next five years, or until the next general election. 

Bearing in mind the weight of voting for potentially the whole government, it’s then important to not only understand the manifesto behind the person but also the party as a whole.

The Influence a Party May Have Over a Candidate

Party discipline is a term used to describe a system designed to ensure cohesiveness among members of a party. It’s a set of political party norms, regulations, and disciplinary actions serving a common purpose to encourage all its party members within the parliament to vote according to the party’s slant. 

So in terms of deciding on policy for our country, the party’s likely to have substantial influence over what a candidate chooses to support. What then does all the above tell us? Studying and considering the candidate’s coalition, party, and party-partners are pertinent to making a good decision this coming GE.

Candidates and the Power They Hold as Individuals

Although a candidate’s party is bound to have a say in what their candidates say or do, it doesn’t mean the candidates themselves are completely void of the ability to impact and act independently for their constituency — they certainly can especially on a grassroot level! However, when matched against their party, the degree to how much say they have is generally measured by two things. 

Firstly, their position in their party. The higher their position, the more influence they have. Secondly, if a candidate clearly has the strong support of the people, as indicated through public survey polls or by winning the majority of votes in one’s constituency, their opinion, stand, and requests are likely to hold more weight within their party or coalition.

With Malaysia’s first election after lowering the voting age just around the corner, the voting landscape has definitely changed. Read on to know how Undi18 will bring important change to the table.

How Your Election Votes for Malaysia’s Government Will Determine Our Future

When we consider who to vote for, I’m certain our next few questions would fall along the lines of, “If we give them our support, what can and will they do for us?” And rightfully so. Afterall, the role of the government is to serve the country instead of the other way round. 

So how should we make a decision that would benefit us and our beloved country, Malaysia? Is there a sure-fire way in choosing the right government that will positively lead this country forward?

The Promises of Change Each General Elections From the Past

It’s the same. As every GE comes, new hope that whoever we vote for will make a difference in what matters most to us grows even stronger. 

Sometimes that hope is met with fulfillment and other times… disappointment and anger. If it’s the latter you’re feeling about any coalition, party, or candidate, before you decide to rule them out for GE15, assess their justification for validity.

Among other questions, you may ask, was there something about their situation that truly prohibited them from carrying out their word? Any external factors? Did they at least make a good attempt?

A drawing of a hand putting their vote into the ballot box.

While they may not have delivered, some circumstances may result in their failures. Consider going through the history of each party or candidate for the past few years for a more thorough and informed decision.

Voting During Elections: Small Act at the Poll, Big Change in the Government

At the end of the day, nobody can tell you who to vote for — it’s your choice.

Depending on our economic, demographic, and social position in life, we’re bound to have different needs and wants. Regardless, one thing remains the same across all Malaysians — the hope that we can all vote with the entirety of Malaysia and its people in mind and our hearts set on seeing our country grow in harmony, prosperity, and strength for the long-run. 

So, this November 19, let’s once again make it a defining moment in Malaysia’s history. Let’s show up, vote, and raise our voices for the greater good of our nation. Your vote will matter.

A group of people, with Malaysian flags in their bags, at a BERSIH rally fighting for a cleaner democratic country.
Shoutout to the enthusiastic and politically aware Tham Jim Ren and Lim Ke Wen, President of Taylor’s Lakeside Model United Nations (TLMUN) for the year of 2021/2022 and 2018/2019 respectively, for contributing to this article.

Andrea Ong graduated in 2022 with a double-degree in Broadcasting and Business Entrepreneurship at Taylor’s University. Writing is one of her greatest delights and she believes in its unique power as the first step to bringing impactful ideas to life.