I begin the week with a new role and responsibility in Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia. The delegates have supported me to take the lead in the youth wing as the chief in the party elections which was held last week.
It is indeed a heavy responsibility as the party is in a different situation now while facing new challenges ahead. Gerakan no longer has any representatives in the Parliament or State Assembly; we are no longer in the Government; we are now not part of the Barisan Nasional coalition. We are an independent party.
Taking the lead in the youth wing has certainly added weight to my role in the party as Malaysian youth has begun to generate interest in politics today.
Young Malaysians participation is definitely on the rise today as we can see in the last General Election whereby the youth has made an impact in putting Pakatan Harapan to take over the Government.
In the 2013 elections, voters in the age group of 21-39 made up 30% of the total electorate; while in 2018, it is approximately 40%. The trend of young people interested in politics is obviously rising and if the Government reduces the voting age to 18 years old, there will be an additional 3.7 million eligible voters.
Getting the young people to be part of the politics and decision making process is indeed a positive step; but if proper political education awareness and education is not provided for the young community, it will spell disaster for the nation.
The young people must understand that politics should be about serious issues and government policies; and not character assassination, personal attacks and negativity as we can experience in the current political scenario.
With the growing number of youth, there is also a need for young politicians to step up. The youth need personalities that they can identify with while inspiring them to concern about politics and democracy.
The younger political leaders generally will make it easier to understand the aspirations and needs of young Malaysians as well.
Globally, the young people have also proven that they can take the lead in many important roles. Sebastian Kurz, who is the Chancellor of Austria is just 32 years old and Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand is 38 years old. Even back to our own nation, Syed Saddiq is the youngest Minister at 25 years old.
We have to face the fact that young people have taken concern in politics and democracy. We should not only stop them, but to encourage them in a positive way.
My new role begins this week, and in the Gerakan youth, we will have to create positive changes, not only for Malaysian youth, but for the whole nation.