Parties release manifestos to show what they promise to do when they are elected to run the country. These manifestos have a comprehensive breakdown of their ideology, policies and how they will budget for their policies. It is a long read, but it is the only definite way to understand the policy of a party.
You should compare their policies to what your beliefs and political ideology are. Do you prefer lower taxes, or better welfare for citizens? Do you prefer a bigger, more involved government or a small government with more personal freedom?
Your MP, local state councilor and party are also elected to represent your local constituency. Consider if they have been meeting the needs of your community. Are there problems that have yet to be resolved? How is your local council performing?
You should ask questions to your potential candidates about what they can offer to your community.
Parties would usually hold ceramahs or visiting events around election time. If you have questions, make sure to ask them and get a satisfactory reply. You can also give some ideas to your MP and discuss problems with their approach or manifestos. Going to their events will allow you to see a glimpse of how their policies would work in practice when they sell them to the public.
Remember, it's your right to ask questions and not be shamed or reprimanded for it, no matter how controversial your views are.
Supporters of both sides of the political divide have been opening websites that have been distributing fake news. They have been trying to post fake news articles using the names of well-known mainstream media sources. As a percaution, make sure you read the news directly from the media company's site itself.
With every election, there will always be this aunty/uncle/ghost of an ancestor/distant relative from Timbuktu who posts a load of election "news" every 10 seconds through WhatsApp. Don't believe any of what's being said unless if it comes from a proper media source. These "news" articles and messages are designed to make you emotionally biased towards certain parties. Some are even fake and are based on no sources at all. If you receive these messages, don't spread them further and be skeptical about its legitimacy.
Try reading a variety of news sources online. A good news sources should:
News sources do have inherent biases - reading a variety of news sources allows you to have a more balanced view about a party.
Some good sources that you can start from are MalaysiaKini and The Sun.
Due to the censorship laws in Malaysia, it is also good to read international news sources such as the BBC, The Straits Times, or South China Morning Post. They are not subject to our censorship laws and are better able to provide good reporting on the Malaysian elections.