The youth of Malaysia have a critical role to play in the country’s effort to achieve the status of a fully developed country 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, system of government, quality of life, social and spiritual values and national pride and confidence.
Malaysia has total population of 28 million people and the youth covered 12.8 million of them. Meanwhile, over 87% of the population in the world is under 25 years old.
Recognizing that ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, political and socio-economic diversities 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 capacity for innovation. Therefore youth participation in development at the community, local, national, regional level is indeed vital in facing the unprecedented challenges of a nation.
Malaysian Youth Council (MYC) has been advocating and strengthening the internationalization of Malaysian youth as one of our sustainable approach in empowering and promoting direct youth involvement in building 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.
On the year 2015, Malaysia will assume the ASEAN Chairmanship for a year. In the speech of Dato Sri Anifah Haji Aman, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia used the term historic responsibility in his speech at the 10th ASEAN Leadership Forum as the weight that Malaysia has to shoulder in 2015.
It is the need of new post-2015 vision and action plan are among the responsibility that Malaysia has to lead on and 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 achievement of these action lines is what is meant by ‘establishing the ASEAN Community’. Most important of all, along with other ASEAN members, we must ensure that this ASEAN Community, the culmination of our founding fathers’ collective vision, is felt and appreciated by all of our peoples.
As a national umbrella body to 39 other national level youth organization, MYC is aware of the changing need to grass-root based movement. With respond to that, the council needs 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 youth. There will be pre-conference for ASEAN Youth Forum 2015, Roundtable Discussion all over Malaysia, Mental Health Programme, 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 identified by young people related closely to the underpinning principles is the most widely mentioned issue across all region. Five common themes and foundations need to be tackle were identified 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 Marginalized Youth emphasizing the Most at Risk Young People
7) Realizing Peace, Reconciliation and Ending Violence
8) Achieving Good Governance and Accountability
9) Youth Rights
10) Inclusive Youth Participation
Since April 2014, MYC has come along with the United Nations’s 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 reflected in the Global Call on Youth, which has been presented during the ECOSOC Youth Forum taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, last 2nd and 3rd of June 2014. The purpose of the Global Partnership will also be able to create a network of local, grassroots organizations which encourage necessary action and monitoring of indicators for youth development in the period after 2015.
In charting the pathways in fortification of youth involvement in sustainable development, one of initiative taken is Your Action Project Competition that just recently organized in promoting the role of youth as social architect. Workshop on Global Citizenship and Youth Exchange program are among the program planned in MYC to foster engagement of young people in social development.
It is apparent that active involvement and support from every level of society in realizing international agenda and global movement is indeed important. At the same time, we as a society members need to understand the balance of values shared globally, and values retained locally as that will distinguish Malaysian youth from others.
*published by myforesight magazine 02/1024