WE have often heared that the youths of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. It is crucial to provide our youths with quality education, the necessary tools, guidance and opportunities for them to harness their leadership capabilities.

We have read and seen over the television of youth icons such as Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old Swedish environmental activist. Her passion and dedication in addressing climate change issues have served as inspiration for youths around the globe.

We have Malala Yousafzai, 15, an advocate for girls’ education, who bravely stood against Taliban threats to champion the right of girls to receive a proper education for their future. Her relentless and persistent efforts in securing educational access for girls earned her the distinction of being the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate.

While in entrepreneurship, we have Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, who initiated the social media giant in his university dorm at the age of 19, fostering global connectivity.

What can we learn from these icons? All three had great ideas and were effective in communicating their ideas to create global impacts.

They harnessed the potential of digital technologies to articulate their ideas to the people, especially the youths, who became their die-hard supporters.

Likewise, our youths must be given the freedom to express their views through effective communication, focus on global impact ideas and utilise digital technology without any hindrance or suppression.

In Budget 2024, there is an allocation for youth development initiatives to encourage youths to enrol in TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) programmes. TVET education emphasises a balanced approach, with 30% classroom lectures and 70% practical on-the-job training and internships, resulting in an impressive 97% job marketability.

Our youths are on the right career
pathway, and the nation needs a hug pool of
technical talents to improve our manufacturing industry.

A significant RM500 million has been allocated for the National Digital Skills Programme, focused on upskilling and reskilling our youth workforce in digital technology to maintain a competitive edge in human resources.

An additional RM150 million has been earmarked for the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme in agriculture, supporting farming and start-ups.

This initiative aims to encourage youths to adopt new sustainable farming techniques and participate in local agriculture cooperatives, fostering opportunities for commercial and subsistence farming, ultimately contributing to the country’s self-sufficiency.

These initiatives will spur their innovation and creativity, unlocking opportunities for
their empowerment in entrepreneurship. Additionally, they will be equipped with financial literacy and diverse economic skills.

The future of Malaysia rests in the hands of today’s youth. To elevate the nation into a world-class, competitive Madani economy, we need young nation-builders equipped with high proficiency in artificial intelligence, complemented by a robust STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and green technology background.

To ensure the stability of scientific progress, young nation-builders must be grounded in solid foundational values such as integrity, discipline, prudence and governance.

C. Sathasivam Sitheravellu


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