Hishammuddin proposes three key areas D-8 must invest in for youth post Covid-19

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein at the virtual 19th Session of the D-8 Council of Ministers Meeting, April 7, 2021. — Picture from Facebook/Hishammuddin Hussein
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein at the virtual 19th Session of the D-8 Council of Ministers Meeting, April 7, 2021. — Picture from Facebook/Hishammuddin Hussein

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has proposed three key areas in which the D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation (D-8) must invest for youth to have a positive impact moving forward post Covid-19.

In his statement at the 19th Session of the D-8 Council of Ministers Meeting today, ahead of the virtual 10th D-8 Summit tomorrow, he said the areas were intensifying online education; innovating digital businesses; and promoting safe cross-border travel.

Hishammuddin said the theme of the 10th D-8 Summit, “Partnership for a Transformative World: Harnessing the Power of Youth and Technology” is timely, providing a new approach for the grouping in its recovery efforts in the post-pandemic era.

Numbering 555 million people, he said youths make up a significant proportion of the D-8 population, hence the grouping must embark in this new direction to empower future generations and remain competitive and more importantly, relevant.

As the economy is still making a recovery and many have faced redundancies, the young have embraced social media to start their own digital business, he said in the statement issued by Wisma Putra here today.

“Across the world, we can see how the youth have incorporated their creativity to start small home-cooked food businesses online, making reusable masks, or turning to the gig economy, especially in e-hailing and delivery services, to weather the economic storm,” he said.

On elaborating further the three areas, on online education, Hishammuddin said the D-8 must admit that the pandemic has severely disrupted schooling and institutes of higher education, with many students are facing difficulties completing their education and have had to embrace online learning as the new normal moving forward.

“On Malaysia’s part, we have intensified our efforts by allocating US$12.7 billion (RM52.47 billion) to strengthen and upgrade our technology infrastructures to provide greater digital accessibility for our younger generation under our National Digital Network initiative,”

On digital businesses, he said Covid-19 has presented itself as an opportunity for young adults to embrace entrepreneurism or self-employment.

On promoting safe cross-border travel, Hishammuddin highlighted Malaysia’s initiative in introducing a One-Stop Centre to facilitate business travellers and investors at its international entry points.

He said Malaysia is among the earliest to introduce this programme to provide a seamless support system for the short-term business traveller which includes fast-tracking Covid-19 safety and health protocols whilst prioritising the safety of the traveller and those around them.

“However, this is not enough. In realising the D-8 Private Sector Initiatives, we must consider exploring the possibility of opening our borders gradually and safely by establishing ‘travel corridors’.

“By working closely together to create ‘bubbles’ with concrete and regulated health protocols and procedures, we can deliver the much needed boost to stimulate our economies,” he said.

As member countries are undergoing their respective national vaccination rollouts, the minister stressed that they must work towards recognising each other’s vaccine certificates to facilitate cross-border travel in the future.

“Reciprocal Covid-19 Vaccine Certificate Recognition offer a way for individuals to prove they have been inoculated against Covid-19,” Hishammuddin said.

The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, also known as Developing-8, is an organisation for development cooperation among the following countries — Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey. — Bernama

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