KOTA KINABALU: An alliance of youth associations and clubs in Sabah has opposed efforts to lower the defining age for youths from 40 to 30, saying such a move would be “too drastic”.
Sabah Lower Interior Division Youth Association Alliance (GPBBPB) chairman Mazlan Joehari Manan also said it would have negative repercussions on youth associations nationwide.
“The government should remember that the maturity of our youth does not depend solely on the definition of youth, but also involves other factors and systems in the country.
“Those aspects need to change (first), alongside the proposed amendment,” he told FMT.
The amendment to the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act 2007 was tabled by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in Parliament on Monday.
The amendment bill proposes the definition of “youths” as those under 30. Section 2 of the act currently defines a youth as a person between the age of 15 and 40.
Mazlan urged the Sabah government not to implement the amendment if it is passed in the Dewan Rakyat.
He also noted Syed Saddiq’s announcement at the 2019 National Youth Day event at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia that the age limit would be lowered to 35 instead of 30.
“Any proposal (to lower the age limit) must take into account the views of youth associations in the country,” he added.
“The lack of involvement of youths aged 20 to 30 in the leadership of youth associations would definitely impede the activities of such associations.”
He added that the amendment would hinder the progress of these organisations which, in turn, would affect the aspirations of the youth.
The Sabah Youth Council also voiced objection to the proposed amendment.
In a statement, its president Ahmad Farid Sainuri urged MPs, particularly those from Sabah, to reject the bill.
He said the council agreed with the earlier suggestion to lower the age limit to 35 before eventually transitioning to 30.