MUAR: With the addition of more than 700,000 voters aged 18 and above in Johor following the automatic registration of voters under Undi18, young voters have become a crucial group being sought after by candidates campaigning in the Johor state election.

In the Maharani constituency in particular, candidates have been going to great lengths to win over the hearts of the younger group, proving that they will have a strong bearing on the outcome of the contest.

Parti Bangsa Malaysia's (PBM) Muhammad Hanis Asmui Md Salleh, 28, feels that as the youngest candidate in Maharani, he would have the edge in getting support from new voters.

"I have operated in the Maharani constituency for almost three years, conducting many programmes together with young people on sports, economic cooperation and skills (training). Alhamdulillah, I'm well received by young people and the community here.

"In my campaign rounds so far, the voters and residents are happy to receive a young candidate," he said after witnessing the Silat Laksamana Singa presentation in Parit Amal Darat here last night.

Muhammad Hanis Asmui said he regarded his electoral debut in Johor as an opportunity and challenge to prove that young people were capable of competing with veteran politicians.

He said if elected, he would focus on three key issues in Maharani - empowerment of young people, economy and good relations among the various races.

Maharani is seeing a six-cornered fight involving Muhammad Hanis Asmui, incumbent Nor Hayati Bachok of Pakatan Harapan (PH), Noor Farah Shamsudin (Barisan Nasional), Abdul Aziz Talib (Perikatan Nasional), Riad Ahmad (Parti Pejuang Tanah Air) and independent candidate Lim Kim Joo.

Noor Farah, 36, when met at a walkabout in Parit Samsu here, said her manifesto would focus on young people by championing issues such as the gig economy for young women, welfare, health and others.

Describing the election as a healthy contest, she said all the candidates in Maharani have their own strengths.

"That is why we have to work hard to get close to the voters, who are aware of issues, and I as the BN candidate will have to prove that the party fights for the race, religion and country," said Noor Farah, who is making her debut in the polls.

Polling for the Johor election is on March 12 and early voting is on March 8.