4th CPPS Malaysian Youth Public Policy Roundtable

The Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) hosted its 4th Youth in Public Policy Roundtable series on September 7th, 2017 at the Malaysian House of Parliament with the theme The ‘Coming of Age’ Issue: Challenges Facing Youth in Malaysia. The roundtable provided a platform for Malaysian youths, who are on the forefront of innovation, to share ideas and perspectives on important topics which contribute to public policy making.

In the first session, speakers advised youths to play a more active role in decision-making through supporting initiatives like Transformasi Nasional 2050 (TN50) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by incorporating their ideas into public policy. The panel session discussions raised issues of food security and the lack of female empowerment. The discussion also tackled the role of media in affecting public policy, arguing that media helps boost general awareness of issues thus driving public support and creating political will. However, it was pointed out that youth need to reclaim responsibility over journalism, particularly over the rising use of social media which has disrupted traditional modes of journalism. In general, the speakers stressed that change, whether it involves small, day-to-day events or large policy reform, will need people willing to stand up and speak out against injustice.

During a world café discussion, participants shared their concerns over the declining quality of education, rising cost of living, the lack of inclusivity, inequality, unsustainable living, and economic disparity. There was also a sense that national identity was lacking and law enforcement distrusted. Youths have generally been discouraged from voicing out and tend to shy away from political participation due to the lack of opportunity to engage and a negative stigma against political participation from peers and family. Participants also gave invaluable recommendations during the world café discussion. For instance, they advised policy-makers to push for greater sustainability, introduce more sustainable methods – such as the promotion of efficient land use, waste management to reduce output – and improve public health. National unity must be further strengthened by promoting moderation and boosting the Malaysian civic identity as a way to bridge racial divisions and point Malaysians towards a common future. There needs to be a move away from divisive race-based policies. Politics should be made more inclusive by encouraging youths to practice socialism and activism in schools, which will also sharpen political awareness. In short, participants believed that Malaysia needs more inclusive politics, emphasis on human rights and communal issues, and sustainability.

Role players include Ms Caroline Cheong, Senior Director, Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS); Mr Shahril Hamdan, TN50 Ambassador; Executive Committee Member, UMNO Youth Malaysia / CEO, Destini Oil Services; Mr Zaim Mohzani, Co-Founder and Principal, Nation Building School; Malaysian Youth Advocate; Dr Sarena Che Omar, Research Associate, Khazanah Research Institute; Mr Rizal Rozhan, Advocacy Officer, EMPOWER; Mr Ian Yee, Deputy Executive Editor and Producer, R.AGE; and Mr Shamsul Nashriq, Managing Director, Motiofixo Sdn Bhd; Board Member, Girls in Tech Malaysia.

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