Voting at 18: Are Malaysian Young Voters Ready to Vote?

  • Wan Rozima Mior Ahmed Shahimi
  • Kuah Yoke Chin
  • Ahmad Harith Ashrofie Hanafi
  • Maziah Husin


According to the Malaysian Electoral Commission (2018), young voters are said to be the majority of voters in Malaysia in the future. This expectation is as a result of the amendments to the Federal Constitution allowing 18-year-olds to vote in the upcoming elections. However, there is a concern whether the young people in Malaysia are ready to vote at a very young age. Hence, this study examines whether the young voters are ready to vote at the age of 18. Secondly, this study analyses the factors influencing the maturity of young voters to vote. For these purposes, the unit of analysis was identified through the simple random sampling techniques. Based on the PLS-SEM method, the results indicated that the family factors and the attitude of respondents had negative significant relationship towards the readiness of Gen Z to vote at the age of 18. Meanwhile, social media, knowledge and peer factors cannot be the factors to influence the Gen Z to vote. In conclusion, democratic sovereignty rests on the shoulders of the younger generation who play an important role in ensuring the well-being and security of the nation.


Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179-211.
Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
Andersen, K., Bjarnøe, C., Albæk, E., & De-Vreese, C. H. (2016). How news type matters indirect effects of media use on political participation through knowledge and efficacy. Journal of Media Psychology, 28(3), 111-122.
Andolina, M. W., Jenkins, K., Zukin, C., & Keeter. S. (2003). Habits from home, lessons from schools: Influences on youth civic engagement. PS-Political Science and Politics, 36(2), 275-280.
Astuti, R. A. A., & Hangsing, P. (2018). Predicting the behavior of young voters in elections: A case study of governor election in Jakarta, Indonesia. Malaysian Journal of Communication, 34(4), 357-372.
Bennett, W. L., Wells, C., & Freelon, D. (2011), Communicating civic engagement: Contrasting models of citizenship in the youth web sphere. Journal of Communication, 61(5), 835-856.
Bergh, J. (2013). Does voting rights affect the political maturity of 16- and 17-year-olds? Findings from the 2011 Norwegian voting-age trial. Electoral Studies, 32(1), 90-100.
Bhatti, Y., & Hansen, K. M. (2012). Leaving the nest and the social act of voting: Turnout among first-time voters. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 22(4), 380-406.
Bose, R. (2011). In Malaysia, social media defies censorship. APD Forum. Retrieved from: January/
Butler, D., & Stokes, D. (1974). Political change in Britain. 2(ed). London: Macmillan.
Campbell, D. E. (2008). Voice in the classroom: How an open classroom climate fosters political engagement among adolescents. Political Behavior, 30, 437-454.
Chan, T. W., & Clayton, M. (2006). Should the voting age be lowered to sixteen? Normative and empirical considerations. Political Studies, 54(3), 533–558.
Chin, W. W., Gopal, A, Salisbury W. D. (1997). Advancing the theory of adaptive structuration: the development of a scale to measure faithfulness of appropriation. Information Systems Research, 8(4), 342-367.
Chinnasamy, S., & Norminaliza, M. A. (2018). Malaysian 14th general election: Young voters & rising political participation. The Journal of Social Sciences Research, Special Issue, 4, 125-138.
Covell, K., & Howe, R. B. (2012). Developmental considerations in teaching children’s rights. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press.
De-Zuniga, H. G., Jung, N., & Valenzuela, S. (2012). Social media use for news and individuals’ social capital, civic engagement, and political participation. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17, 319-336.
Electoral Commission. (2004). Age of electoral majority: Report and recommendations. London: The Electoral Commission.
Evans, G. (2017). Social Class and Voting. The SAGE Handbook of Electoral Behavior. London: Sage. Chapter: 9, Publisher: Sage, Editors: Arzheimer et al.
Flanagan, C. A., & Sherrod, L. R. (1998). Youth political development: An introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 54(3), 447-456.
Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39-50.
Franklin, M. N. (2004). Voter turnout and the dynamics of electoral competition in established democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Glantschnigg, C., Johann, D., &Zeglovits, E. (2013). Are 16- and 17-year-olds ready to vote? Correct voting in the Austrian Federal Election 2013. Paper presented at the ECPR General Conference.
Hart, D., & Atkins, R. (2011). American sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds are ready to vote. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 633(1): 201-222.
Hair, J. F, Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. R. (2010). Multivariate data analysis. Prentice- Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
Inkinen, S., & Saari, J. (2019). The educational correlates of voting: a cross-sectional study of Finnish undergraduates’ turnout in the 2014 European parliament election. Scandinavian Political Studies, 42(1), 1-24.
Jennings, M. K., & Niemi. R. G. (1974). The political character of adolescence: The influence of families and schools. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Jennings, M. K., Stoker, L., & Bowers. J. (2009). Politics across generations: Family transmission reexamined. The Journal of Politics, 71(3): 782-799.
Lazarsfeld, P. F., Berelson, B., &Gaudet, H. (1960). The people’s choice: How the voter makes up his mind in a presidential campaign. 2nd, 5th print ed. New York: Columbia University Press.
Lenhart, A. (2010). Teens and social media. Pew research center’s internet & American life project. Retrieved from
Nestlé Family Monitor. (2003). Young people’s attitudes towards reading. Croydon: Nestlé.
Oerter, R., & Montada, L. (2002). Entwicklungspsychologie [Developmental psychology]. Weinheim: BeltzPVU.
Ritonga, R., Marsetio, Murwani, E., Nurochim, B., Rudiyanto, Gunawan, K., & Octavian, A. (2017). The social media use for presidential candidates campaign and political awareness of young voters in Indonesia. International Journal of Control and Automation, 10(9), 111-122.
Schmid, C. (2012). The value ‘social responsibility’ as a motivating factor for adolescents’ readiness to participate in different types of political actions, and its socialization in parent and peer contexts. Journal of Adolescence, 35(3), 533-547.
Schwarzer, S. &Zeglovits, E. (2013). The role of schools in preparing 16- and 17-year-old Austrian first time voters for the election, in: S. Abendscho ¨n (ed.) Growing into Politics: Contexts and Timing of Political Socialisation(Colchester: ECPR Press), 73-89.
Suruhanjaya, P. R. (2018). Kenyataan penuh spr berhubung isu-isu pada hari pengundian pru-14. Utusan Malaysia Online. Retrieved from
Torney-Purta, J. (2002). The school’s role in developing civic engagement: A study of adolescents in twenty-eight countries. Applied Development Science, 6(4), 203-212.
Wagner, M., Johann, D., & Kritzinger, S. (2012). Voting at 16: Turnout and the quality of vote choice. Electoral Studies, 31(2), 372–383.
Yates, M., & Youniss, J. (1998). Community service and political identity development in adolescence. Journal of Social Issues, 54(3), 495-512.
How to Cite
MIOR AHMED SHAHIMI, Wan Rozima et al. Voting at 18: Are Malaysian Young Voters Ready to Vote?. International Journal of Advanced Research in Education and Society, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 2, p. 96-105, june 2020. ISSN 2682-8138. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 11 aug. 2020.