By Yap Pik Kuan
Civil society organisation Watan is hoping to encourage young Malaysians to register to vote by leveraging on the star power of celebrities including Marina Mahathir, Altimet, Daphne Iking and Remy Ishak.
With more than 3.7 million unregistered voters – two-thirds of whom are between 21 and 30 years old, according to Election Commission figures – Watan is taking on a more millennial approach to capture the hearts and minds of youths.
“Celebrities have a huge following and we are just tapping into their network,” Watan executive director Masjaliza Hamzah told The Malaysian Insight.
She added that the method has been used in campaigns worldwide such as Rock Your Vote in the US and rappers for Jeremy Corbyn in the UK elections.
Getting celebrities on board who are not linked to any political parties also helps keep the campaign non-partisan, which is a central principle for Watan.
“We don’t want to link our registration campaign with political parties. There’s room for that but it’s not Watan’s role. Our goal is to move registration,” Masjaliza said.
“Who they end up voting for is a choice they will make themselves.”