Youth Movement: Future Game Changer

Youth movement has garnered a worldwide attention and influential around the world in terms of reformation and leadership stance. From the famous En Marche party under Emmanuel Marcon which become the ruling government body of France and Future Forward in Thailand, they are examples of how youth lead party disrupt the current political rule. Similarly, Malaysia politics are full of unpredictability and surprises especially with youth movement breaking into the scene.

The most notable person in the youth movement would be Syed Saddiq who is the ex-minister of Sport and Youth, and currently holding the record for being the youngest federal minister in Malaysia political history. Above all, he advocated on youth political exposure and movement such as supporting the bill to lower voting age and e-sports scene breakthrough in Malaysia. Currently, he is building his own youth lead party and breakaway from his mentor, Dr Mahathir.

Youth movement is not particularly new in political scene. Some of the earliest youth movement can be traced back to 18th century in heightening scene of Industrial Revolution. To clarify, one of the most notable figures would be Giuseppe Manzini, the people who influenced known figure such as Mahatma Gandhi. He founded the youth revolutionary wing Young Italy (1832) with the purpose of reunification of Italy.

The flag of Young Italy (Giovine Italia) movement which serves as the basis for current Italy flag. (Photo by Manny Mannheimer)

Why youth movement?

As the current generation of youth today, sometimes the hardest question of all must be asked. Why youth movement? Why can’t we rely on the current political party scene? What is the need on youth movement? The major reason would be the need for the youth voices to be heard and decision making involves the youth. Many of these stems from dissatisfaction in terms of economy and social decisions from current and previous ruling government.

Another reason is that, current elder politicians like to spew their political dogma of youth inexperience’s and undeserving chances in leadership. Due to this, youths must suffer and lose out the most in terms of policy benefits. From minimal increase of minimum wages over the years, limited job opportunities especially STEM, tertiary education access and internet access, these are prime examples of problems that haunt young Malaysians for so long. Do remember that the country has been ruled by more or less the same group of people back from the Malaysia Independence. When will the youth voices going to be listened if the youth do not create a movement?

Creative ways of Thais voicing out their protest in youth led Thai Protest. (Photo by Reuters)

How do I get started?

Contrary to popular belief, voting is the first action that can be done. It is the least contributions that all the youth can do. For instance, voting is another way of advocacy on voicing out how dissatisfied you are with the current situation and would like to change things. It is a contribution to the causes that youth movement advocates. Never underestimate the power of voting. A single vote can change a country fate in terms of its policy making and their governance of stay.

Young voters highly influential on the result of General Election 14 which gave victory to Pakatan Harapan government. (Photo by BBC)

Next, would be politically aware and never afraid to voice your opinion. This is your right as a citizen of Malaysia and free speech. If you want to be more active and feel like to contribute more, there are a lot of political and NGO youth movements in Malaysia. They advocate and address youth current issues such as job opportunities, sustainable energy, and education access. Most prominent example would be Undi 18 with their most popular initiative Parlimen Digital which involves digital parliamentary session with youths representing their own constituents around Malaysia.

What now?

Keep on voicing your opinion and rights towards the authorities. In addition, be aware on current changes in your surrounding and never forget to vote when the times come. Never forget, social media is youth best arsenal for engagement. For university students, be the change yourself. Have the solidarity and unite on common ground for issues regarding student’s welfare such as fees hike and rooms availability. Remember, inaction in your part would also lead to more worsening problems in the future. If the Thai university students able to voice out regarding their royalty which sparks demonstration and unfazed when threatened with Lèse-majesté, why our students could not do the same? Think about it.

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