Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki is pictured at the 2020 Umno annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur March 27, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — Umno’s Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki today questioned the readiness of Malaysia’s established political parties in accepting the opinions and active participation of its youths.
The youth wing chief of the country’s biggest political party pointedly included the ruling Umno in his broadside, saying that today’s young generation hold very strong views on how the country should be managed in its politics and economy, the kind of institutional reform Malaysia should undergo, social justice, national identity, civic and political education and more.
“Young people do not just want to be spoon fed. They want to be involved in this national debate because they themselves will inherit this country and the impact of their political choices,” he said in a statement on Facebook.
He said youths today are very concerned about the country’s economic issues and want a prosperous country as well as dignified jobs.
“They want the issue of sustainability to be emphasised but they also want the economic and social development of the people to be strong.
“What is the best balance political parties can offer them?” he asked
Asyraf also said today’s young Malaysians are very aware of their clout as a collective, that they hold the power to decide which political party will lead the country in the 15th general election.
“Most importantly they know this fact and do not hesitate to maximise the opportunities as much as possible.
“They don’t want this manifesto and that manifesto because they now know it’s not the ‘holy book’.
“They are also concerned about the issues that revolve around their lives and believe that the era of ‘government knows best’ is long over,” he said.
Asyraf said political parties, including Umno, must brace themselves for a sea change.
“Or will they, in the end, bow and return to the style of old politics!” he concluded.
Malaysia is set to see an estimated 1.2 million new voters between 18 and 21 years sold added to the electoral roll by December after the High Court ordered the government to expedite their inclusion following the lowering of the age threshold.
Fresh elections are pending in two states, Sarawak and Melaka, and a national election is expected to be called next year despite the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Several new political parties have also emerged recently, focusing on registering younger voters and getting them to participate actively in Malaysia’s future.
Among them is the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance, started by Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman who was also the youngest minister to be appointed in the country back in 2018 after the Pakatan Harapan coalition won the election that year.