Youth need to voice out on policies

THE 2050 National Transformation plan has my full backing because it focuses on the youth of today to think up the policies for tomorrow.

When Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin encourages the youth to speak out, it is necessary for young people to heed the call.

That being said, however, let us define who the youth are. The ones speaking out make me cringe for considering themselves youthful.

For myself, the youth are those 25 years old and below.

Thus, I hope youths understand what is being asked.

What is being asked is not for you to think which party will be in power, who will be the prime minister or even who will lead the next street protest.

Seeing as how 40% of youths are not bothered to register to vote, I am guessing they have abandoned politics as a way of being heard. That is fine, focus instead on policies and suggesting what works.

What is being asked is that you consider what kind of life you want. How will you deal with global, environmental, and even social pressures?

What are your thoughts on trade, economics, social advancement, healthcare, and even waste management for that matter?

Are we happy with roads being packed with traffic every rush hour, or do we need to evolve into having car pool lanes and even charging people exorbitant rates just to drive into Kuala Lumpur to make them use public transport?

Do we continue to flaunt recycling rules, or do we look at waste-to-energy plants, even push for more product manufacturers to think about environmental packaging, and reform trash collection like the Swiss to the point of putting payment stamps on your garbage bags for them to be collected?

Are we going to continue with taxes the way they are, moving more towards consumption tax like the goods and services tax while lowering income taxes? Do we introduce a capital gains tax for those who trade on the stock market, while excluding the unit trust and wealth funds which help people invest?

More controversially, do we look at supplying condoms and birth control pills as a more valid way for ending baby dumping, or do we insist on morality being the only avenue?

Or, should we make mosques a place where the poor and downtrodden can sleep by building hostels, food banks and even showers? Should we make them centres for studying by building libraries and have volunteer tutors, even a creche for parents to leave their young children, regardless of their religion?

Can I place Automated Enforcement System (AES) cameras in all neighbourhoods to stop vehicles from going beyond 40-60kph to reduce traffic accidents in these areas?

Are we going to redesign KL to the point of using water from the Klang River to clean the streets as they do in Paris?

To foster greater ties between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak, should we teach students the Malaysian Agreement of 1963?

These are just a few of the ideas being put forward by Malaysians, and the youth should consider what they want their neighbourhood to be; likewise their state, and of course, their country. And honestly, I believe our youth are more creative than we will ever be.

There's a reason why Louis Armstrong sang that "babies will learn much more than I'll ever know" because the younger generation will be immersed in new technologies, new knowledge and even new innovations that people my age at 33 and above would have missed out on.

At the same time, youth come with abject curiosity, with the belief that they can change the world, with the ability to challenge authority, and even with reckless but meaningful protests for a better world.

That, dims out when you get older.

So, the young citizens of this country should start walking around their neighbourhood, take note of what needs to be changed, try to figure out how to change it, and write it out. Look beyond the politics, look at policies, and look at innovation.

And if people my age tell you you're wasting your time, you're not. We are just a jaded generation, and some of us have given up due to broken dreams.

Hafidz Baharom is a public relations practitioner. Comments: