Empower Youth to Participate in National Development

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The youths are a most strong, self-confident, creative and productive guiding force of any nation. They are often the ones who renew the conscience of a nation.

The development of nations is fully dependent on the abilities of youths. The power of youths must be positively utilized in all areas like health, education, technology, business, trade, and so on and integrated with moral value education to spread peace and welfare throughout the country.

For statistical purposes, the UN defines youth as individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, whereas Malaysia defines youth as individuals between the ages of 15 and 40.

The youth constitute more than 40 percent of the total population in Malaysia and they are the most vital part of our nation.

“Young people are empowered when they acknowledge that they have or can create choices in life, are aware of the implications of those choices, make an informed decision freely, take actions based on that decision and accept responsibility for the consequences of that action. Empowering young people means creating and supporting the enabling conditions under which young people can act on their own behalf, and on their own terms, rather than at the direction of others.” (Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment: 2007 – 2015, Commonwealth Secretariat, London)

Today young people have hardly any scope for participating in decision-making at local and national levels. Only a small number of the youths of our country may be empowered.

Sometimes, reports on the negative images of young people appear in the media. However, they do not represent the entire youth community. Only handful youths are involved in anti-social activities, or in partisan student politics.

It is true that the youth chapter of human life is a time of exploration and experimentation – a time of opportunity and also a time of risk.

Ignoring commitment and engagement of youths in national development today will have dire consequences.

If youths are greatly involved in national development, it gives a clear picture that their potentials as change agents in mostly civil society is being highly recognized.

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