Putrajaya to appoint a senator from among youths, says PM

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, arriving to launch National Youth Day celebrations.

BANGI: Putrajaya has agreed to appoint someone young as a senator to give a bigger voice to youths in decision making.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the individual must have wide experience in various fields and issues concerning development of the young.

“I suggest that this appointment be done soon so that a suitable candidate can be appointed senator,” he said when launching National Youth Day celebrations at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia here.

The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Youth Power”.

Present were Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, UKM board of directors chairman Abdul Wahid Omar and Malaysian Youth Council president Jufitri Joha.

Mahathir also announced that more than RM50 million would be allocated for this year and next year for the implementation of “Youth Power” programmes.

“The allocation includes RM7.4 million for this year to drive Youth Power clubs in 222 areas throughout the country. All registered associations can apply for the funds, including those who had never received allocations from the government previously,” he said.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman said the government was also allocating RM100 million in special funds to broaden access for youths to sports and recreational facilities next year, and to develop sports infrastructure in the rural areas, together with the private sector.

Mahathir, in his speech, paid tribute to youths for daring to vote for change in the 14th general election.

Mahathir said it was no secret that the young generation had made the change happen as they no longer wanted the country to be caught in a web of acts which could destroy the country.

“They did not want the country to be led by a kleptocrat. They wanted corruption and abuse of power to be stopped. The success in overthrowing the past government bore fruit as a result of the courage of the young generation, even in the face of pressure and threats.

“It is also a willingness and ability on the part of youths in practising self-restraint, from being influenced by the mantra that cash is king, and continue to hold on to the idealism and principles of the true struggle.

“Adults and senior citizens would not have been able to make that change on their own, without the support and drive of the youths,” he said.

However, Mahathir said, now that the “easy part” had been done, the challenge remained as to how this success could be used to chart the country’s future.

“I would like to stress that the youths must realise their responsibility does not stop with the success we have achieved. Now, the bigger challenge is to restore and develop the country.

“Previously, we stood together in criticising and objecting to the damage done to the country. Now, we also need to stand together to repair the damage, and think of the efforts we need to undertake, for a brighter future which you will inherit,” he said.

The theme “Youth Power”, Mahathir said, was not a mere slogan, but a manifestation of the interest and the role youths play in shaping the country’s development.