iM4U was just ‘I love PM’ propaganda, to be rebranded, says Syed Saddiq

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman gives a speech at the launch of Impact Malaysia in Spacerubix, Puchong April 19, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman gives a speech at the launch of Impact Malaysia in Spacerubix, Puchong April 19, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman today said that the government had allocated RM10 million for the revamped version of 1Malaysia 4 Youth (iM4U), the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s initiative to encourage volunteerism among youths.

He said the iM4U initiative needed to be reviewed as the platform was used for former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration’s “I love PM” programmes.

Syed Saddiq, when met at the launch of Impact Malaysia — the agency taking over from iM4U — said the government needs to move away from the Najib-led agency as it was struggling to find funds to run its various community-based programs.

“That’s why we’re removing all those elements by having a new board, focus, vision, CEO and we’re about to complete the audit reports,” he said when asked if his ministry was moving away from the previously named iM4U as it was used as a propaganda tool by Najib.

“The reason we faced financial shortages for iM4U is because it was a direct instruction from the Ministry of Finance (MOF), who said we get zero funds until we show better accounting and governance exercises.

“So this auditing practice is about changing the leadership structure as it was previously led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak.”

Saddiq, Malaysia’s youngest ever minister at 26, said the RM10 million will be in cash and kind.

His ministry is trying to rope in other NGOs and the private sector as well to help empower youth through its three main programs: Impact Through Technology, Impact Through Community and Impact Through Business.

These programs are meant to enable more youth-led social impact projects to happen with the support of partners in the ecosystem.

As for criticism that the government is wasting its time in rebranding pre-existing agencies, Saddiq said: “We won’t just rebrand or rename it without any changes as that’s a waste of time and I’m not a big fan of it.

“What we’re doing is very different from the past as the focus now is on innovative volunteerism and not just volunteering.”

Saddiq gave the example of how the FIT Malaysia programme cost more than RM1 million under the previous government while under him, they’ve managed to save RM1 million.

“FIT Malaysia programme didn’t need rebranding as it’s a good programme,” said the Muar MP.

“However, it used to cost RM1.3 million under the previous government because they outsourced the projects. Now we can do the same events for just RM300,000 using our very own civil servants.

“While these are just examples of how we manage the various programs, our main focus is on long term results and ensure technology is used within the youth and its communities in resolving conventional problems facing Malaysians,” he said.

* The previous version of the article stated that RM10 million was allocated for the rebranding exercise. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has since clarified that the amount allocated is for all Impact Malaysia’s programmes and operations, and not limited to the rebranding exercise.

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