The National Youth Development Policy defines youth as young people between the age of 15 to 40 years old.
For this issue, the focus is on the future of youth as it matters to Malaysia’s future growth. The development policies that are geared towards making Malaysia achieve its future goals and realised future aspirations lie in the hands of today’s youth. Continuation efforts of implementing the policy’s initiatives will be carried on by the youth who will assume the role of future leaders. Therefore, it is pertinent to get their participation and buy-ins throughout the process of developmental planning. However, in order to position them at the forefront of national development, Malaysian youth needs to be equipped with the right tools, knowledge and attitude.
Recognising the challenges and the need to provide solutions, the Government has implemented a number of dedicated initiatives and programmes to provide the required support to youth development.
In ensuring that Malaysian youth is highly employable, skills development programmes have been organised by the Government ranging from courses in areas related to accounting and finance to food and beverage down to shipping and maritime. To impart agility and ensure that Malaysian youth are well-rounded, the Ministry of Youth and Sports also offers courses such as ‘Kursus Pengurusan Akaun Amanah,’ ‘Kursus First Aider,’ and ‘Kursus Piskologi Minda Beretika’.
Technology also can be leveraged for this purpose as most of them are digital natives. Powering the minds of youth through gamification allows collaboration across diverse cultures, being creative to solve elusive problems embedded in a game. Game is increasingly complex, diverse, realistic, and social in nature which can be a suitable platform for effective development tools.
In addition, guidance is also given to the younger generation who would like to embark on an entrepreneurship journey through mentoring programmes. Besides skills and an entrepreneurship, other programmes include youth workers or youth work practitioners, who provide support to a young person’s personal, social and education development needs. On top of that, the assistance provided should also nurture youth people, develop their personality and advice in career development towards becoming perfect adults and effective citizens of the future.
Other form of support is to provide platforms that allow youth to be recognised as one of the critical stakeholders in the making of national policies and initiatives. This requires political commitments and community support to escalate their views and ideas in all aspects of national development: politics, economy, social, technology and environment. It has to be inclusive where the same opportunities should be given to all youth at all levels either those who live in urban or rural areas throughout Malaysia. Therefore, accessibility to reliable infrastructure and technology such as internet networks and digital platforms should be made available.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s timeless wisdom resonates:
Recognising youth as an important asset for the future of Malaysia cannot be overemphasised. They are future innovators, captains of industry and machinery to continue today’s plan and steer future direction. However, they should not only be equipped with vast knowledge and skills but also a leader who ethical, has high integrity and practices sustainability integrity and sustainable oriented leader.