Youth Economic Forum 2018: Special Address by YB Syed Saddiq

On 27 October 2018, Syed Saddiq, the Minister of Youth and Sports of Malaysia has delivered a special address at the Youth Economic Forum (YEF) 2018 which was held at Securities Commission of Malaysia in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur on that day. At the end of his speech, he has answered some questions from the participants of the forum.

Question: Do you think that the government should prioritize between fulfilling the promises made in the manifesto or making unpopular decisions for the sake of our economic sustainability?

His answer is recorded in the video below:

In addition to the video above, we have summarized the following points:

Self-sustained Democratic System: The government needs to create a democratic system that is self-sustainable that even if in the future if the government changes, the abuse of power can be minimized or completely taken out. The people would still be empowered.

Academic Freedom: He mentioned how the current government is taking steps to abolish AUKU to ensure greater freedom of speech among the students. Talks are in place to ensure that academic freedom is practised among the students and those who are studying abroad will not be harassed anymore.

Institutional Reforms: Each ministry has their own list of reforms, at the same time we must follow the due process. Anti-Fake News Act, AUKU and the moratorium on the death penalty are among the items that are currently being discussed at the parliament.

Youths Under 30: Some of the NGOs which are receiving substantial fund from the government have people in their leadership boards up to 40 years old. In 1970s, we did consider the youths are those below 30 years but somehow the previous leaders change the definition to include those below 40 years old as well. Now, the government is redefining it as below 30 again with an amendment scheduled to be tabled in 2019.

Voting Age: The government is taking the necessary steps to lower the minimum voting age to 18.

Returning the Power to the People: In essence, the new government aspires to give more power to the people. Returning the power to the media is part of it so that the people will be free to express themselves. It will take some time but it must be done because we owe a duty to the electorates.

Reflection and Notes

He likes to take questions from the audiences. Similar behavior can also be observed with the previous Youth and Sports Minister, YB Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ). IN YEF 2018, participants are allowed to ask questions using Slido platform, which makes use of their own smartphones. Participants will have the opportunity to write their questions using their own smartphone and the questions will be displayed on the huge screen. However, YB Syed Saddiq did not seem to be fully aware of this. Maybe he prefers to take direct questions from the audiences instead.

On October 16th 2018, YB Dr. Maszlee Malik, the Malaysian Education Minister has said the amendment to AUKU will be tabled in December 2018 (source: NST).

Promise 17: Ensure transparency and robustness of our election system – In page 48, the Buku Harapan 2018 (English version) says the Pakatan Harapan Government will lower the voting age limit to 18 years. Besides, they also will enable automatic registration of voters based on details at the National Registration Department (NRD).

In essence, while he did not address the question directly, he emphasized the importance of fulfilling the promises made in the manifesto. He has also outlined the steps being taken by the current government to fulfil the promises made in the manifesto. In regards to economic affairs, most probably he did not touch much of it as it is not directly in his portfolio as the Minister of Youth and Sports.

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