Speak up and to one another, Dr Mahathir tells Malaysian youth

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad poses for the camera after launching the National Reading Decade at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi February 13, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad poses for the camera after launching the National Reading Decade at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi February 13, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Youths, the leaders of tomorrow, should be given more chances and opportunities to voice out their opinions with their multiracial compatriots, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.

The 95-year-old nonagenarian believes that Malaysian youth can empower and drive the nation to a better future if given more proper channels or platforms, such as forums or digital discussions.

“From that platform, they can identify certain issues and have regular discussions. Together with their Malay, Chinese, Indian friends, it (discussion) will sharpen their mind and understanding about moral values.

“From there, they can understand each other better, especially about politics. Who knows, they can develop a friendship. That is why it is vital to make use of your youth, just communicate and take differences positively,” he said.

Speaking at a digital talk organised by MyPerintis, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that promotes Youth Empowerment, Dr Mahathir said youths should remain active and be involved in a lot of activities to keep their mind busy and occupied so as not to waste the opportunity to develop this country.

On another matter, Dr Mahathir advised the rakyat to explore different ways of carrying out businesses, including the online platform, especially since the bank loan-repayment moratorium will not last forever. 

“You must think very hard for the time when the moratorium is lifted, then you will have no more support. What will you do at that time? I sympathise with those who are unable to switch to another business. But always remember that moratorium is not forever, at some stage you have to pay your debt,” he said.

The government recently announced the extension of loan repayment moratorium by three months for those who lost their jobs in 2020 due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, while a targeted approach would be undertaken for the rest.

Previously, the government announced a six-month moratorium period from April 1 to Sept 30, 2020, under its Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package to cushion the impact of the pandemic.

Dr Mahathir said those who did not have the capacity to venture into a new business could use the gig economy platform, such as Grab and Foodpanda, to sell their products straight from their own backyard. 

At the end of the session, he reminded the people to be more tolerant of one another to turn Malaysia into an advanced nation. This, he stressed, was because the country was very rich and there were many opportunities for the people to improve themselves, although they were often distracted by political matters.

“Therefore, the people must be smart in making an assessment of the country. If there is a choice during general elections, then choose as best as possible,” he said while advising the people not to be extremists towards anything. — Bernama

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