Defining ‘youths’ to just those below 30 will ‘kill’ grassroots groups, senior activist insists

MBM president Jufitri Joha said that the change must be accepted voluntarily by the youth groups, rather than ‘forced’ through legislation. — Picture via Facebook Jufitri Joha
MBM president Jufitri Joha said that the change must be accepted voluntarily by the youth groups, rather than ‘forced’ through legislation. — Picture via Facebook Jufitri Joha

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — The Malaysian Youth Council (MBM) has urged the government today to reconsider the definition of “youth’’ to be under 35 and not 30, to avoid “killing” youth groups during the transition.

In a media statement today, MBM president Jufitri Joha also said that the change must be accepted voluntarily by the youth groups, rather than “forced” through legislation.

“The age limit of 15-35 years is the best and reasonable solution that is best received by all MBM affiliates partners to be implemented before the next step for MBM and its affiliates to campaign ‘all out’ to give way to youths under 30 years to lead youth societies including MBM,” the veteran activist said.

“Most importantly, the age range of 15-35 years is to ensure the leadership transition takes place voluntarily, smoothly and does not kill more youth organisations at the grassroots level because it involves leadership and management issues.

“Some youth organisations who are ready have responded to the call for their leaders to be under 30 years. It is seen to be effective and harmonious when it is done voluntarily rather than forcefully enforced by law,’’ said the activist, who is nearly 40 himself.

He said the “death” of more grassroots groups will retard their aim for positive development of the demographic.

Jufitri, who is also the president of Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement or Abim, said the definition of youth as those between 15 and 35 was even previously agreed before Syed Saddiq and the Youth and Sports Ministry.

“The more acceptable solution of 15 to 35 years was given by MBM and earlier agreed to by the minister himself during his National Youth Day 2019 speech [in May] at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,” he added.

Syed Saddiq recently announced his planned to redefine “youth” from a maximum of 40 previously to just 30 by amending the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act 2007 (Act 668).

Jufitri also pointed out that MBM, who has been a strategic partner with the Youth and Sports Ministry on the proposed amendments, were not duly informed of the government’s decisions.

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