Despite election fever heating up our shores like Coachella did in the United States, the idea of mixing youth and politics is not a popular one in Malaysia as statistics have proven that out of the 18.7 million eligible voters, 67% of the 3.8 million unregistered ones are made up of those within the age range of 21 to 30 years old.
It’s a worrying fact, mostly because millennials make up the largest number of registered and non-registered voters in the country. The apathy in many of these youngsters is not a foreign concept as well, with majority of them not seeing their own significance in the upcoming electoral campaign.
However untrue that may be, there’s no one to blame but the unjust system that reigns supreme. This includes the Universities and University Colleges Act (a restrictive and undemocratic legislation), a lack of awareness in the education system and perhaps, not much talk about politics and social issues among peers and family.
That being said, political apathy doesn’t discount the opinions many youths have about GE14 and what it entails. Without further ado, the young and hopeful team members here at JUICE share their objective opinions on the election, proving that we’re more similar than we are different.
I would like to see a change in the freedom of expression right in Malaysia. It seems that everything controversial to the government will be blocked out or erased away if they find it offensive. The public has the right to know about our own individual opinions and through that suggestion to make the country greater can be taken into consideration. Isn’t that the real meaning of what democracy means? Also, there should be equality among all races in Malaysia. Currently, everyone identifies themselves according to races and not as Malaysians as a whole. Equal opportunities and rights should be given to all races to really show that Malaysia is united as we say it is.
Welcome to my Ted talk! Protection for everyone, and when I say everyone – I MEAN EVERYONE. There should be more equal protection for Orang Asli, the LQBTQ+ community, atheists, the disabled, migrants, heck even for people from different races. Also, as a Malay Muslim, we are too comfortable and scared of sharing our privileged rights with others. But to me, it is very necessary. If you’re poor and Malay, there’s so many ways for you to reach out for help. At times, it will be hard but at least there’s something. But if you’re from a different race, you are expected to go through it with nothing – NGOs could only help to an extent. The future is intersectional and we could only move forward together. By abolishing this divide, I feel like we could prosper into a much greater country. Although this change is something that is hard to implement (some might even say it’s unrealistic), I hope I get to see it in action one day. Sekian, tutup salam.
Am a Reggaetron
Having the experience of teaching for four years, I realise the bumps in our education system. I believe that in order to truly achieve a 1 Malaysia, education accessibility should be easier for ALL. I know most people will disagree with this, but abolish vernacular schools, establish a Sekolah Kebangsaan where everyone, regardless of race and religion can learn different languages and religions that are practiced in Malaysia. No one should be deprived of education, and no one should get more than the other. Everyone can get a better chance at life and better opportunities if they have access to good and quality education.
“One of the main factors of Malaysian youth who have studied overseas don’t want to come back is the terrifying thought that our international knowledge and exposure will be reduced to a pathetically low starting salary.”
I might not be old enough to vote yet but a change I would like to see in the Malaysia is the increase of the minimum wage. “12% of our young people below 24 are unemployed; thousands of graduates cannot find jobs; the majority of young workers cannot earn enough to live decently” (quoted from the Malaysian Insight). Inflation exists, everything is becoming more expensive; property, food, fuel, so how are we supposed to continue to maintain and afford the basic costs of living when minimum wages won’t increase with inflation? One of the main factors of Malaysian youth who have studied overseas don’t want to come back is the terrifying thought that our international knowledge and exposure will be reduced to a pathetically low starting salary. How are we supposed to afford to pay rent? Phone and Internet bills? Groceries? Fuel? Paying back our student loans? Everything is expensive! How can we afford the basic cost of living or more if there is no incentive to bring the next generation of Malaysia back? Raising the minimum wage will have a positive domino effect on the economy, but why won’t anyone do anything about it?
Another anon zzzzzz
Sex education in schools. Yes it is needed, no telling people that sex before marriage is “haram” and that you will “go to hell” for having sex before marriage really is not enough! Using religion as a prevention strategy really is not enough anymore in the world, especially Malaysia where rape culture exists. Instead of avoiding the fact that this type of knowledge needs to be thought to the youth, why don’t we properly educate the youth of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to our bodies? Rape culture is unfortunately a very big problem in Malaysia, and the worse part is the continuous and unapologetic victim shaming when a rape case arises. The narrative is always, “what was she wearing? Oh she was asking for it”. Or, “Next time don’t dress like a slut if you don’t want to be raped.” What kind of mentality is this? Instead of teaching women/girls/boys to stop dressing a certain way, why don’t we teach the youth to respect each other? Women especially. Teach them that no means no.
“Using religion as a prevention strategy really is not enough anymore in the world, especially Malaysia where rape culture exists.”
Race-based politics are the result of centuries of colonialism, but has the ruling party done anything to change this in the last 50 years or so? To me, both sides of the political divide promise everything every year. Like showering us in gold. A golden shower! But what they don’t do is give a unified manifesto. It’s just carrots. No one has the guts to fight for a unified and secular Malaysia. Hence, Islamisation is the only winner this GE (and probably for the next few GEs as well). If you’re cool with this, then Malaysia is a good place to live. If you’re not, it will never change because religion is part of politics in Malaysia and used to secure the kampung vote. Another thing is that the Opposition has no footing in Sabah and Sarawak. Instead of fielding progressive candidates, they make a pact with the devil (as they always do) and put forth Nik Aziz’s son Omar Aziz who will fight to bring hudud back.
One can go to jail for merely suggesting that segments of Malaysia part ways. But think of it, it’s the only way. We’re too diverse for democracy and too lazy to be united. So I think the best solution would be to divide Malaysia into three different countries: East Malaysia, North Malaysia, and Central and South Malaysia. Okay, maybe we need more than three divisions.
The government should not just keep adding a new law and new shopping malls, they should be more concern on the road as well as traffic such as controlling the inflow of passing traffic during Raya, upgrade the traffic safety facilities where it is necessary, safer motorcycle roads and less complicated junctions (Diverging Diamonds for example). I hope there will be a huge upgrade on the education system also, make school fun, advanced and less stress like last time, like what we have been through. Encourage the future generation to get involved in art and sports. While on higher education, the future generation should be focused on mathematics, science, literature and philosophy. Instead of moulding the future generation of Malaysia to become dumber and scared of the government through rules such as the new Anti-Fake News act 2018.
“Let us describe the education of our men. What then is the education to be? Perhaps we could hardly find a better than that which the experience of the past has already discovered, which consists, I believe, in gymnastic, for the body, and music for the mind.” — Plato
And please reduce the penalty for marijuana possession.
A change I would like to see in the Malaysia is the minimum wage should be up to par with the cost of living. Is it really a surprise to see millennials still living with their parents, if what we earn is less than what we can afford?
As you can expect, financial frustration, segregation, lack of human rights and quality education are some of the major issues youngsters hope to fix in the near future. With many millennials being more socially aware, there’s no escaping the politically correct bandwagon, which is dominated by ‘woke’ kids who no longer want to be put into a box. Furthermore, social media has opened up many doors for the youth to be more politically aware as well, so engagement is definitely there.
All that needs to be done now is to remind the youth of how much power they have, and perhaps, give them more freedom to exercise their rights and creativity. If you connect the dots in all of the opinions shared here, (they aren’t any different from the opinions of youths from other countries) you’d get a solid group of people who just want what’s best for their country, not just benefits for individual gain. Our hopes and dreams for our beloved Malaysia is win-win situation for all, after all.
What are some of the changes you’d like to see? Share with us in the comments below.