by | Mohamed Maliki Mohamed Rapiee | President of Malaysian Youth Council (MBM)
The youths of Malaysia have a critical role to play in the country’s effort to achieve the status as a fully developed nation by the year 2020. Malaysia’s development plan, known as Vision 2020, aims to develop all aspects of the country including national unity, social cohesion, economy, social justice, political stability and system of government, quality of life, social and spiritual values, and national pride and confidence.
Malaysia has total population of 28 million people and 12.8 million of them are youths. Meanwhile, over 87% of the population in the world is under 25 years old.
Recognising and realising the diversity of ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, political and socio-economic of Malaysian young people have enabled them to contribute positively to the formulation implementation and evaluation of actions for development strategies and plans through their creativity and capability for innovation. Therefore, youth participation in development at the community, local, national, and regional level is indeed vital in facing the unprecedented challenges of the nation.
Malaysian Youth Council (MYC) has been advocating and strengthening the internationalisation of Malaysian youth as one of our sustainable approach in empowering and promoting direct youth involvement in building a civil society. Youth has a vital role as a global citizen, to tend and cultivate global movement towards better livelihood.
Our current focuses towards this approach are the ASEAN Community 2015, Post- 2015 Development Agenda, Sustainable Development and Smart Partnership.
The ASEAN chairmanship 2015
Though the challenges are quite common to the region, Malaysia had other different challenges in the coming ASEAN Community 2015.
Malaysia will assume the ASEAN Chairmanship for a year in 2015. In his speech on the subject at the 10th ASEAN Leadership, Dato Sri Anifah Haji Aman, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, used the term ‘historic responsibility’ as the weight that Malaysia has to shoulder in 2015.
The new post-2015 vision and action plans are amongst the responsibilities that Malaysia has to formulate during the chairmanship of 2015. Among others, we will need to ensure that the action plan contained in the ‘Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015)’ is implemented in the fullest possible measure. The success of this action plan is in ‘establishing the ASEAN Community’. Most important of all, along with other ASEAN members, we must ensure that this ASEAN Community have the collective vision of our founding fathers’ is felt and appreciated by all of our peoples.
As a national umbrella body to 39 other national level youth organisations, MYC is aware of the changing needs of grass-root movements. To respond to those needs, the council has to be efficiently responsive and aware of the global changing game rules. MYC has mapped out several initiatives to cultivate awareness and knowledge on the implementation of ASEAN Community 2015 amongst youths. There will be preconference for ASEAN Youth Forum 2015, Roundtable Discussions all over Malaysia, Mental Health Programmes, ASEAN Youth Forum 2015, ASEAN Youth Skill Exposure and ASEAN Day Celebration.
Post-2015 Development Agenda For Post-2015 Development Agenda, a number of the important issues related closely to the underpinning principles most widely mentioned across all regions have been identified. The common themes and foundations that need to be tackled are as follows:
1) Inclusive Youth Led-Development
2) Poverty Eradication and Food and Nutrition Security
3) Realizing Equal Access to Quality Education
4) Promoting Healthy Lives and Access to quality Health care
5) Full Employment and Entrepreneurship
6) Empowering Marginalised Youth emphasising the Most at Risk Young People
7) Realising Peace, Reconciliation and Ending Violence
8) Achieving Good Governance and Accountability
9) Youth Rights
10) Inclusive Youth Participation
Since April 2014, MYC has cooperated with the United Nations’ Office of the Secretary- General’s Envoy on Youth to work on the Global Partnership for Youth in the Post- 2015 Development Agenda initiative. As the crowdsourcing initiative, opinions and views are being collected and documented through https://crowdsourcing.itu.int/ in developing concrete targets on development. The result of this public consultation is reflected in the Global Call on Youth, which has been presented during the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, on June 2nd and 3rd, 2014.
The Global Partnership would enable us to create a network of local grassroots organisations that encourages necessary actions and establishes monitoring of indicators for youth development in the period after 2015.
Sustainable Development One of the initiatives taken to chart the pathways of youth involvement in sustainable development is ‘Your Action Project Competition’ that was organised recently with the aim of promoting the role of youth as social architect. Apart from that, MYC organises various workshops and activities on Global Citizenship and Youth Exchange programmes to foster engagement of young people in social development.
It is apparent that active involvement and continuous support from every level of society in realising international agenda and global movement is important. At the same time we, as society members, need to understand the balance of values shared globally as well as values retained locally as that would enable us to distinguish Malaysian youth from others.