A youthful alliance of civilisations, not a clash

MP SPEAKS | Two things struck me last night when I attended the first series of the Parliamentary Debathon 2019 Youth in Parliament by 46 youths in the 16 to 25 age group.

Firstly, empowering Malaysians youths and inspiring them to transform Malaysia into a top world-class nation of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity; and secondly, harnessing the energies of youth for the country’s reform and a reset of nation-building policies to build a New Malaysia.

I was impressed with the seriousness, intensity and passion of the young debaters last night on 'Precariat workers in the gig economy', which few Malaysians are familiar with.

This reinforces the hope and belief that Malaysians must depend on the youths of today to take the country to greater national heights in the coming years and decades.

Young Malaysians must dare to dream big and have great vision for the country. 

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When DAP MPs were first elected to Parliament in 1969, we had three who were in their 20s – Fan Yew Teng (Kampar), Lim Cho Hock (Batu Gajah) and myself (Bandar Melaka).

The Pakatan Harapan Government has taken the rights steps to reset nation-building efforts, including the constitutional amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18; the appointment of the youngest Youth Minister in the history of the country, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who was 25 when he appointed to cabinet (despite his various faux pas); the Parliamentary Debathon 2019 Youth; and the historic event last Friday where after more than 40 years, the University of Malaya Students’ Union (UMSU) revived its tradition of holding a convoy during the university’s orientation week.

I am, therefore, emboldened to issue two challenges to Malaysian youths: firstly, spearhead a national campaign to clean up social media by combating fake news and hate speech which incites interracial and interreligious suspicion, fear and hatred.

And secondly, to prove to the world that Malaysia is a successful example of an alliance of civilisations, and not an example of failure from a clash of civilisations.

If fake news and hate speech calculated to incite interracial and interreligious misunderstanding, and undermine tolerance and harmony are not checked, the only outcome is racial and religious conflagration, with all Malaysian as losers.

This is not the future that Malaysians want, as we want a win-win formula through an alliance of civilisations.

Malaysia is a confluence of four great civilisations of the world – Malay/Islamic, Chinese, Indian and Western – and Malaysians should leverage on the best values and virtues of these four civilisations, instead of being a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state because of a clash of civilisations.

LIM KIT SIANG is the MP for Iskandar Puteri.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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