Why such naysayers for youth political representation?

Why such naysayers for youth political representation?

By Hafidz Baharom

You know, of all the people having to write this out, I cannot believe that I had to. But when two political titans who should both be enjoying retirement and grandkids come out saying the youth should not be “divisive” or “won’t get far”, I guess I will make at least some noise.

First and foremost, the youth make up a huge electorate and come the Undi 18 provisions, will be an even larger group of voters. If the Election Commission continues with its reforms of automatic registration, even more so.

That being said, Dr Mahathir’s assertion that the youth won’t go far is misleading. If anything, the youths are the ones that will decide the future election just as they did the last one. Do I really need to walk you down memory lane when youths were tweeting how their parents and grandparents were stunned that Barisan Nasional lost government?

Please have longer memory spans or be damned to be the “Melayu mudah lupa” trope.

That being said, Rafidah Aziz is right in her assertion that a youth based party will be divisive. And that’s exactly what we need when political dinosaurs won’t retire, decay and can’t become petroleum that would at least increase Petronas’ revenue stream.

And that is exactly why a youth based political party makes sense – because it caters to those who are tired of seeing the same old faces, the same old politicians who lied, don’t keep their word, give contracts to cronies, come up with reinventing the wheel ideas like a third national car project, or total absence of sense like a flying car.

Yes, Japan just launched one. Japan also has a 200 percent debt to GDP ratio and a housing market that depreciates over time thus allowing people to have a home. Though I’m not entirely enthusiastic because vaping is actually banned in Japan and I’m not inclined to go back to cigarettes.

The country needs young leadership to push forward an agenda that caters to the youth while we have people and policy makers still stuck in their old school mentality that direct cash transfers are lazy, Malays are lazy and we shouldn’t be mad at the rich even if they don’t pay enough taxes or own businesses that exploit the poor.

It needs people who are able to look not at what’s popular, be nonchalant to protests and look beyond race and religion as a political tool to segregate and divide the masses. It needs to bring this country back to centre instead of the right wing conservative tilt we see now.

And more to the point, we need politicians who stop working for the privileged, give their sons support letters to GLCs, bully executives from their non executive chairmanships to enrich their own kin and contacts, and take that money for political gain.

If the youth can come up with policy to make life better for this country and it’s people, away from the old school thinking and political blogging of ancient dinosaurs who do nothing but blow hard without keeping to their word – then more power to the youth.

And stop catering to this old school mentality of respecting your elders when they show no respect for your ideas and vision. That’s exactly why we still don’t have a thriving youth representation in politics to this day among all political parties in Malaysia except one.

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