Graft fight is top concern of young – By Julia Chan

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Research officer Lee Lih Qing presented the findings of the survey done late last year

New Straits Times Online | KOTA KINABALU, 01-July-2009: Malaysian youth today are less interested in inter-racial issues and would like to see politicians deal with other issues like managing the economy, fighting corruption and listening more to the people.

They are also more likely to support a multiracial party that represents the interests of all Malaysians, regardless of religion or race.

These were the findings of a national youth survey carried out last year among 2,518 people aged between 20 and 35, of various backgrounds based on the national population profile.

The survey showed that although the youth were well-informed on current issues from various media, many remained politically disconnected and felt there was little they and their vote could do to make a difference to their communities.

This was due to a 16 per cent decline in confidence in elections from 80 per cent from the previous year’s survey to just 64 per cent this time.
The young were also not against the idea of a female prime minister as 56 per cent indicated acceptance.

About 57 per cent were agreeable to a non-Malay Muslim as prime minister while 45 per cent were willing to accept a non-Muslim premier.

Racial or religious polarisation was more likely in the peninsula as 38 per cent still identified themselves first as a follower of a religion.

The majority, at 43 per cent, mostly in Sabah and Sarawak, considered themselves Malay-sians first.

As many as 44 per cent of the youth were not registered to vote. The reasons given ranged from their busy schedule or commitments to an indifferent or negative attitude towards politics.

In the poll, 79 per cent of the youth did not belong to any organisation. The 511 respondents who did would rather join a sports or recreational club.

Based on the condition of the country at present, the youth were split between deciding whether the country was on the right or wrong track. But many were grateful for the relative peace and increased democratic competition in politics.

But they also felt the political bickering and economic downturn were signs of a weak leadership.

Research officer Lee Lih Qing presented the findings to the media here yesterday.

The poll was conducted by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, with support from the Asia Foundation.

It was the third consecutive year the survey had been carried out.