LIS­TEN­ING TO YOUTH GOOD FOR US

Perak has long in­cluded them in de­vel­op­ment agenda

New Straits Times - - News - The writer is Perak men­teri be­sar

TH­ESE days, peo­ple on the streets and are talk­ing about TN50. Cy­berspace, where the young con­gre­gate, con­nect and com­mu­ni­cate, is also abuzz with the topic.

While the old may be warmed by blan­kets of the New Eco­nomic Pol­icy (NEP) and prospects of Vi­sion 2020, the young are be­ing trans­ported into the era of Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion 2050, or TN50, a con­tin­u­a­tion of Vi­sion 2020, as said by Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak.

We have to ad­mit, times have changed. Gone are the days when the gov­ern­ment knows best. The younger gen­er­a­tion, the Gen-Z com­mu­nity or the post-mil­len­ni­als, are of a dif­fer­ent breed com­pared with most of us, who are of gen­er­a­tion X, or Y, what more those from the baby­boomer era.

In this re­spect, the prime min­is­ter’s vi­sion­ary and dis­cern­ing view of the fu­ture of Malaysia should be cel­e­brated by all and sundry. De­spite be­ing the ar­chi­tect of TN50, he nev­er­the­less en­trusted the task to Youth and Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din to carry out the mis­sion’s process of en­gage­ment.

Thus, it re­flects the prime min­is­ter’s open­ness, which is de­void of any per­sonal and po­lit­i­cal div­i­dend. He wants to see the fu­ture set by the younger gen­er­a­tion of to­day and tomorrow.

As it is now, noth­ing scares mil­len­ni­als. Cy­ber­cul­ture and tech­nol­ogy are their world. They hunger for adren­a­line-rush ac­tiv­i­ties and voice out opin­ions, es­pe­cially when con­fronted with some­thing that they dis­agree.

When asked about their (pre­ferred) fu­ture and how they want to live, when they are in their prime, they boldly pour their heart out.

That was what hap­pened dur­ing the TN50 dia­logue ses­sion held at UiTM Seri Iskan­dar re­cently. The ses­sion, which was aired live on RTM1 and moder­ated by Khairy and me, saw about 1,000 youths from Perak con­gre­gate at the univer­sity’s hall to voice out their as­pi­ra­tions.

It was such a de­light to have the pro­gramme held in Perak dur­ing the four-day Per­muki­man in Perak Ten­gah.

The dis­course was part of ef­forts to out­line as many rea­sons why TN50 is im­por­tant to th­ese young peo­ple, to Malaysia. The TN50 pol­icy doc­u­ment will be the re­sult of all the feed­back that will be com­piled, as a guide for all the gov­ern­ment poli­cies and spend­ing for the next three decades after 2020.

TN50 will give di­rec­tion for Malaysia for the next 30 years. So, lis­ten to th­ese young souls we did.

One of the girls, a sec­ondary board­ing school stu­dent in the Perak Ten­gah area, boldly in­tro­duced her­self as the “fu­ture prime min­is­ter of Malaysia”, much to the amaze­ment of every­one in the hall and was met with cheers and ap­plause.

Al­though her wish for a bet­ter trans­porta­tion sys­tem tech­nol­ogy is nor­mal, her de­sire to have the op­por­tu­nity to be­come prime min­is­ter is in it­self an as­pi­ra­tion that needs to be ac­knowl­edged. I am sure that her voice is echoed by her con­tem­po­raries.

Oth­ers have spo­ken about chang­ing the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, from ex­am­i­na­tion-based to knowl­edge-and-skills ac­quire­ment. Econ­omy, sports, reli­gious and cul­ture preser­va­tions were also on their list of con­cerns.

With 2020 three years away, it is timely that we work hard for TN50. It was in­deed an hon­our to have the as­pi­ra­tions of young

MON­DAY, MARCH 20, 2017 Per­akians in­cluded in the draw­ings of the pol­icy doc­u­ment.

Eight years ago, when I was given the re­spon­si­bil­ity to lead the state ad­min­is­tra­tion, the first thing that I did was to draw up the mas­ter plan for the state. We call it the Aman­jaya De­vel­op­ment Plan, which is the only mas­ter plan that pri­ori­tises hu­man de­vel­op­ment in the con­text of state de­vel­op­ment.

It pro­vides a blueprint and aims to mea­sure de­vel­op­men­tal suc­cess not only de­fined by eco­nomic growth, but also so­cial de­vel­op­ment, im­proved well­be­ing, and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity to pro­tect the nat­u­ral wealth of the state.

Out of 43 state de­vel­op­ment in­di­ca­tors, five in­di­ca­tors mea­sure eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial per­for­mance, while the re­main­ing in­di­ca­tors mea­sure so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions and im­pact, demon­strat­ing the state’s ac­cep­tance that mon­e­tary mea­sures, such as gross do­mes­tic prod­uct per capita, are in­ad­e­quate prox­ies of de­vel­op­ment.

In its scope, the state de­vel­op­ment plan re­flects the state gov­ern­ment’s en­gage­ment with com­mu­nity lead­ers, the Orang Asli, aca­demi­cians, en­trepreneurs, youth and women, and their hopes for a bet­ter fu­ture that is not cen­tred on wealth ac­cu­mu­la­tion.

Per­akians want pros­per­ity, peace, sta­bil­ity, a healthy planet and re­spect for their in­di­vid­ual rights and free­doms, and their achieve­ment in tan­dem with progress in Malaysia and the wider world.

There are seven Key Re­sult Ar­eas (KRA) stip­u­lated to achieve the goals of hav­ing qual­ity op­por­tu­ni­ties, qual­ity in­come and qual­ity liv­ing for the peo­ple of the state. One of the KRAs fo­cuses on youth de­vel­op­ment, which en­cour­ages so­cial har­mony, im­prov­ing youth knowl­edge and sur­vival.

This is the foun­da­tion for the Coun­cil of Perak Aman Jaya Youth Lead­ers (MP2MPA) and Perak Youth State As­sem­bly. Their voices will be chan­nelled di­rectly to the pol­i­cy­mak­ers.

Other ini­tia­tives are the SRIA hous­ing scheme un­der Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan to help youth own a house and mi­cro­cre­dit loans for those who need fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance in start­ing a small busi­ness. Then there is our Youth Farm­ing Pro­gramme through the state Agri­cul­ture De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

We can­not just sit and wait for changes to hap­pen or de­vel­op­ment to take place. In­stead, we have to take ac­tion to sup­port ideas and chan­nel them to a proper di­rec­tion.

The Per­muki­man pro­gramme en­ables us to en­gage peo­ple from all age groups. Whether it is re­lated to sports, cre­ativ­ity, in­no­va­tive or chat­ting, it’s all to pro­vide room for them to voice out their opin­ions.

Al­though TN50 is in the plan­ning, in Perak, in the con­text of youth for the de­vel­op­ment in the state, they have long been in­cluded. We have and will con­tinue lis­ten­ing to them.

For a na­tion to pros­per, lis­ten to the voice of the young gen­er­a­tion. And the prime min­is­ter just did the right thing — TN50.

Perak Men­teri Be­sar Datuk Seri Dr Zam­bry Abd Kadir and Youth and Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din at the TN50 dia­logue ses­sion at UiTM Seri Iskan­dar on March 8.

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