MINDA MUDA – National Unity Study on Young Malaysians

The research proposal for MINDA MUDA can be downloaded below.

Launch of the Minda Muda Research Study: Young Malaysians and National Unity

24th April 2008, Kuala Lumpur – The MINDA MUDA, an acronym for “Menjana Integrasi Nasional Dalam Aspirasi Masyarakat Muda”, launched here, was a quantitative survey jointly carried out by The Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) of the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI) and the National Young Lawyers Committee (NYLC) of the Bar Council in July and August 2007, covering 1000 Malaysians aged between 18 and 35 in urban and rural Peninsula Malaysia. The study was funded mostly by the Jabatan Perpaduan Negara & Integrasi Nasional (JPNIN).

The parameters of the MINDA MUDA study was based on the results of CPPS’ qualitative study and research of national unity amongst young Malaysians in Peninsula Malaysia. The results of the study was a predictive National Unity Model, evaluating the variables significant to one’s perception of national unity, which gave indications that young Malaysians who have healthy interethnic relationships at the personal level gave lower ratings for unity at the national level.

The Young Malaysians Roundtable discussion held on the 3rd of April 2007, a platform to discuss the key findings from the qualitative research and the feedback collated through the Roundtable discussion resulted in the Consensus Document being presented at Parliament to Dato’ Dr Maximus Ongkili, the now former Minister in the PM’s Department in charge of National Unity. Tricia Yeoh, the Director of CPPS, presented a power point presentation of the executive summary of the study to an audience of approximately 50, consisting of representatives of NGOs, interested bodies, members of the Bar, public people and the Press. This was followed by a robust session of question & answers and opinion-giving from the floor.

The executive summary of the study showed firstly that there were significant differences in responses between urban and rural areas; wherein rural respondents were more optimistic about unity in the country, giving higher ratings to issues of harmony and peace; whereas urban respondents showed a greater level of dissatisfaction. Secondly, significant differences were clear between the responses of the different ethnic groups; with the Chinese being quite pessimistic about their future, followed by the Indians; whereas the Malay people were generally satisfied with their lives in the country. Thirdly, regional differences revealed that the respondents within the Central (Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan) and Southern (Johore and Malacca) regions were less optimistic about national unity than did those in the East (Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu) and North (Penang, Perak and Kedah). Fourthly, those in the younger age group (18-24) responded that they were less likely to mix with others of different ethnicity relative to those in the older age groups (25-35), indicating increasing racial and religious polarization amongst the young.

Tricia concluded that, although the MINDA MUDA had been conducted prior to various historical events culminating in the general change in voters mindset as shown in the recent 12th General Elections, the study is reflective of the disparity between what is experienced versus what is perceived in reality; and should be taken as an opportunity for government policies to address unity at the national level, starting with a more open approach to discussing and addressing root causes followed by a bold examination and reassessment of the public policies which adversely affect the socio-economic and socio-political fabric particularly those related to equal opportunity and access to resources as well as those in the spheres of religion, economy and education. She added that CPPS hopes the findings of the study will be incorporated in the efforts of the present Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage to bring about greater national unity.

The MINDA MUDA also showed that there exists underlying currents of inter-ethnic tension, made clear by the disparate and differential ratings across the survey. Edmund Bon, the immediate past Chairman of the National Young Lawyers Committee went further to state his opinion that existing unity campaigns that merely attack the surface of the problem must give way to policies that directly address the issue. He said that work by the JPNIN for example, while far reaching, cannot be continually negated by political led policies from other sectors of the government. Finally, Edmund, who also heads the Bar Council’s human rights committee, also called on the government to ratify and implement the various international conventions relating to human, civil and political rights and concluded that although the results were very telling of the graveness of the perception of young Malaysians, it was not too late to be undone if all parties be willing to work together to achieve this.

To read findings from the Minda Muda study, please download the following PDF.

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