SHAH ALAM, July 22 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman wants the government to focus on getting interns paid and not cave in to corporate desires.
The MP for Muar said youths are losing out on jobs and cannot complete their studies as they are unable to study and gain valuable work experience due to them having to work for free.
“Stop defending the corporate sector, think about the youth at the moment,” said Saddiq when speaking to reporters at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
“When you only think about corporate greed and profits and forget the welfare of the young people, that means you have betrayed the youth of Malaysia.”
Saddiq was responding to a question on unpaid interns whereby he posted on Twitter several days ago that he was going to request a special Cabinet meeting to discuss this issue.
This comes hot on the heels of an historic bill passed in Parliament where they lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
Saddiq said getting interns paid was hot on his agenda and has already had preliminary discussions with Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar the Chief Secretary to the Government on this matter.
He was then asked his thoughts on Cuepacs statement saying paying interns was wrong to which he responded.
“I’d like to ask Cuepacs how does someone in the B40 (lower income group) say from Sarawak gets a chance to join a top industry in Kuala Lumpur as an intern, but does not get a cent or is paid very low.
“How does this person take advantage of this once in a lifetime chance? The existing system only favours those from privileged families.
“Even if a student gets good results and has a good CV, he still has to undergo a certain level of practical studies and how does one do it without money?
“In the end, they either lose this opportunity or their studies will then be stuck at that stage,” he added.
Saddiq said he has already mooted that there be a special Cabinet meeting where they will only discuss youth issues and paid internships will be one of the agendas he’ll bring up.
He has had discussion on this with prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and hoped to come up with a win-win module for all.
Saddiq witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding between UiTM and the National Sports Institute to incorporate their sports science expertise to help boost athletes performance.