Economic issues will influence how young Sabahans vote, says think tank

( – Economic issues will be a major factor in determining how young Sabahans vote in the coming Sept 26 state polls, says the Society Empowerment and Economic Development of Sabah (Seeds).

Its chairman Dr Arnold Puyok said the majority of respondents in a study they conducted expressed concerns over economic issues due to effects brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Seeds is a think tank comprising professionals and academics involved in social, political and economic research for Sabah.

“Young people seem to be affected a lot by the economy, loss of opportunities and unemployment, ” he said, adding this was affecting many young graduates.

“This is something political parties and leaders should address, ” he said during a press conference after the launch of the Seeds Sabah Electoral Project 2020 seminar at Hyatt Regency on Sunday (Sept 6).

Arnold added that politicians and parties must give specific and constructive plans to address the concerns of the youth to attract their votes.

Arnold said more young people would be casting their ballots in the coming state polls, and conventional methods to attract voters may not be relevant any more in the age of social media.

“They have to find ways to win the hearts and minds of young people, ” he said, adding that social media will be a useful tool to reach out to them.

He said social media was the main source of information for young people.

“Whether it is fake or not, it doesn’t matter, ” he added.

Arnold also said many respondents believed that issues dealing with oil royalties and the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63) go in tandem with the economy.

“If oil royalties are high, the government will have more revenue and this can be used to develop the state, ” he said.

Arnold said the illegal immigrant issue was also relevant, which the opposition would use as leverage against Parti Warisan Sabah in the coming state polls.

“What is the plan to address this issue? I think this has to be answered by all political parties and leaders, ” he added.

Seeds polled 2,350 respondents in its survey from Aug 24 to 31, stratified by voting districts, age and ethnicity.

The majority of respondents were from the 21-30 and 30-40 age groups.