By Izzah Muhd Fadhil
“Youth is the valuable asset of the country” said the Sultan in the recent titah at the Sidang Dewan Undangan Negeri Perak. It is time that we view and value the youth in our system. The Undi 18 is indeed a great start to accepting that the youth is the future. They are the future of the leaders, the bloomers for the ideas and the tomorrow of our country. We tend to forget that they are the future of us. When two bright young indviduals named Wan Mohammad Afiq Wan Fathillah and Ezatul Farita Rohawi were chosen to be a repsresentative in the Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Melayu Perak, it signals we are ready to include the youth as one of the stakeholders in the decision making and the system.
UNICEF tells us that 60% of the unemployed people in Malaysia are the youth. They are either graduates, urban or rural youth that do not match with the job market. When this happens, indeed an immediate question is are the youth not offering any meaningful skills to the market that they cannot be hired? But there are indeed more layers to be reviewed. Among the questions that we can pose are, are they in the ‘right’ course in order for them to be hired, is the education system informed on the available jobs for them in the next 5 years? As we speak now, there is little analysis being done in observing the pattern of the market. If the government is serious enough in valuing the youth, such effort needs to be done. This includes reviewing the policy on the education, economy and social. We can see that in the transition of changing the language for the education curricular, are the students being asked on their own preferences on which language would be the most preferred by them?
It is anticipated as one of the initiatives in Perak Sejahtera 2030 is the maximization of big data, hence there will be effort in observing and explaining how the job mismatch in Perak occurred. This big-data project is believed to be highly impactful for the Perak rakyat later, especially those who are in the category of vulnerable people, mainly in the time where we are all trying to survive the post-pandemic.
Youth is also essential in nation building as they are one of the vehicles to move toward progress and change. That is why we can observe there are many social changes that happened throughout history showing how our youth are capable of bringing a social reform. Due to their character and natural tendency to have a spirited movement and thinking, they are enthusiastic in bringing an agenda. This must not be taken lightly as this element is indeed significant in our effort to become a better state and country.
I would like to end this with a writing by a powerful figure, which should push us even further in reviewing how much we are investing in the youth today.
The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow – Nelson Mandela
UNICEF (2020) Situation Analysis of Adolescent in Malaysia