Money is wasted on youth (ministry)

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform.”

― Henry David Thoreau

COMMENT | Does anyone else find it hilarious that Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman vows to defend the freedom of speech of that doctor who wrote an anti-LGBTQ polemic but remains strangely quiet when it comes to the freedom of speech of Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi?

This should tell you something about the politics at play or maybe even the kind of prejudices which are acceptable to the ruling elite in the country.

Funny isn’t it, that the youngest minister in the government who is supposed to be supportive of youths, has no opinion on the state’s reaction to these two young activists. That Syed Saddiq has the gall to claim that whatever form the new Biro Tatanegara (BTN) and National Service programmes will take, it will mould the new leaders of tomorrow, is the height of hypocrisy.

As far as I can tell these two young people are demonstrating leadership qualities that other young people should pay attention to, rather than the leadership qualities (or lack thereof) of the new Pakatan Harapan regime.

Honestly reading and understanding the issues these young people bring up, how they handle criticism and the reaction of the state towards them is far more instructive, in my opinion, on what it means to be Malaysians than whatever voodoo programmes the Youth Ministry belch up to justify its existence.

Which brings me to the little spat between opposition political operative Khairy Jamaluddin and Syed Saddiq about the alleged misuse of funds of the1Malaysia For Youth programme. Well, duh? Of course, some of the funds would have been misused, but is this really a revelation or is Syed Saddiq just taking a page from the older political operatives instead of truly reforming his ministry?

My question is, why does Harapan keep insisting on keeping programmes or tweaking them when before the election they said these programmes were destroying Malaysia?

Young Syed Saddiq said that the idea behind 1Malaysia For Youth programme was “noble” because it was supposed to be about encouraging volunteerism among young people. This is really silly. Any government programme is there is encourage young people to vote for them. Can anyone seriously make the argument that government initiatives – any government initiatives – are non-political?

These programmes exist to brainwash young people into thinking that the government is a benign entity which should be supported because – depending on the quality and efficacy of said programmes – governments bring some sort of benefit to their lives. Whatever they receive in terms of experience or skill sets is built upon a foundation of propaganda.

This said propaganda worms its way into young people and they conflate political parties with the independent institutions of government. They do not think of government institutions as independent but rather as an extension of political parties. They may not articulate it as such, but it’s all there in how they express what they think of government and its role.

Two points...

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