Sabah may have own age limit for youth bodies if leaders not ready

Sabah Youth and Sports Minister Phoong Jin Zhe (4th from left) after presenting the appointment letters to Chinese community leaders.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah may enact its own law to define the age group if the state government decides that youth bodies in the state are not ready to be led by those under the age of 30.

Speaking to reporters here after presenting appointment letters to Chinese leaders today, Youth and Sports Minister Phoong Jin Zhe said there is a possibility that Sabah’s youth groups may not have enough time for a power transition from the current leadership to their younger members.

He said the national average may show 55.9% of youth leaders were aged above 30, but in Sabah, they make up almost 80% of the leaders in youth organisations.

“This shows there are differences in demographics between Sabah and the rest of the country.

“This will pose significant challenges when it comes to a leadership transition in Sabah.”

Yesterday, the Dewan Rakyat passed the Youth Societies and Youth Development Amendment Bill 2019 to lower the age limit of youths, as defined under Section 2, from 40 to 30.

Phoong said he agreed in principle with this lowering of the age limit but Sabah has to be careful in implementing this.

Therefore, he said his ministry will consider the matter thoroughly if it found that younger leaders are still unable to take over management of youth organisations by 2021.

If after two years, such transitions still face problems, then Sabah will have to consider enacting state law on the matter, he added.

Nevertheless, Phoong was confident younger youths in Sabah would rise up to the challenge and will be ready to lead their organisations.

He encouraged all youth organisations to groom their members to take up leadership roles and promised to give additional grants and incentives to them to carry out activities.

“My ministry will organise leadership training programmes to assist in this transition,” he said.