Don’t take youth anger lightly, Putrajaya told
PETALING JAYA: Pundits have told Putrajaya to take heed of rising anger among youths over joblessness and the allegedly poor government response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
They say young Malaysians are likely to continue with harsh criticism of the government through social media and hold demonstrations if Putrajaya does not buck up
Last Thursday, a video clip of a street protest in Parit Raja, near Batu Pahat, Johor was posted online and quickly went viral on social media.
It showed a group of motorists and motorcyclists blocking a busy intersection, burning flares and setting ablaze a banner with the words “Kerajaan Gagal” on it.
Tweets with the hashtag #KerajaanGagal, which started on April 16, have been trending for a month.
Azmi Hassan, formerly of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), said it appeared that youths want to know what the government was seeking to do in its fight against Covid-19.
He said Putrajaya should emulate Britain, which “has a detailed plan of when and what to open and in what kind of situation”. He was referring to restrictions on business and other activities.
“Our youths also want to see a clear roadmap,” he told FMT.
He said they wanted the government to show it knew what it was doing. “They do not want U-turns.”
Referring to a recent government announcement of SOPs for Hari Raya and a lockdown in Kuala Lumpur, he said: “They understood the reasons. But just before Raya, the government announced a total lockdown despite earlier stating there would be no nationwide MCO.
“The perception that youths have is that there is no clear thinking within the government of how to fight Covid-19 and to help them with their problems.”
Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya (UM) said the weakening economy was causing a fear of job losses among youths who, he added, were also angry over the state of emergency and curbs on freedom of speech.
He also said they rejected the alleged application of double standards in the enforcement of SOPs.
“They understand the reasons for the compound fines but are becoming rebellious over double standards,” he told FMT.
Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) said most Malaysians, including youths, were supportive of SOPs and “proper lockdowns” but were looking for “clear direction and instructions”.
He urged the government to stop applying double standards and to make policies that would help youths “get back to normal lives”.
Malaysia is under a nationwide MCO from May 12 to June 7. -FREE MALAYSIA TODAY
Muhyiddin Yassin said towards this end, various initiatives had been implemented specifically for the youth community through assistance packages under the “Program Strategik Memperkasa Rakyat dan Ekonomi”.
“The government has introduced several initiatives specially for youths under ‘Initiative 19: Prihatin Belia’.
“These efforts are to ensure that all government policies and initiatives always remain relevant by taking into consideration the aspirations and current needs of youths,” he said in his National Youth Day 2021 address, aired live on the youth and sports ministry’s Facebook page today.
He said the ministry, with the cooperation of the Malaysian Youth Council, was also taking the initiative to formulate the New Youth Development Model, he added.
This model would serve to complement the existing Malaysian Youth Policy 2015-2035 to ensure it remains in line with the latest policies, such as the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals, he said.
Apart from this, focus would also be given to efforts to tackle the challenges faced by youths, especially post-Covid-19, and to equip them to deal with the changing digital landscape involving skilled work.
This included empowering youths through analytical and innovative thinking, efficient management of new technologies, and emphasis on innovation and creativity, he said.
The prime minister noted that many youths have brought honour to Malaysia with their achievements although the country was grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.
They included Muhammad Hamdi Ahmad Hakimi and Jarell Cheong Tze Wen, who have been selected to further their studies at Harvard College in the US.
He also took pride in badminton ace Lee Zii Jia winning the 2021 All England men’s singles title in March and diver Pandelela Rinong winning a gold medal at the 2021 Fina World Cup.
The prime minister also congratulated Mohd Azizulhasni Awang and Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sharom for excelling at the national track cycling championship in Australia. – BERNAMA
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