KL Summit : Need to engage young people in decision-making

Last update: 17/12/2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 -- The Muslim world should listen to the voices of its young people and engage them actively in decision-making process as they are the ones who will inherit the future, said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. 

In his remarks at the opening of the Youth Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 here today, the minister noted that the history of the Muslim world shows that many young individuals when trusted with opportunities and leadership positions ended up creating history.

“It is not enough to say that we listen to you but don’t give you a voice at the decision-making table. It’s not enough to say that your interests will be taken care of but, in reality, when you look at those in leadership positions all being 50 or 60 years old,” he said.  

Syed Saddiq said young people have fresh perspectives to bring to the table in wanting to ensure that the voices of the communities are listened upon.

“They don’t want to have just a seat at the dialogue table; they want a seat at the decision-making table,” he said.

The Youth KL Summit taking place today and tomorrow is a prelude to the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad which runs from tomorrow until Saturday.

Syed Saddiq opined that putting more young people in leadership positions is in line with the diversity of leadership which is needed, especially in the Muslim world.

He also spoke about his belief that nations which fail to listen to the voices of young people are the ones which will never be able to future-proof themselves.

The minister pointed out that protests seen in many parts of the world arise from concerns over issues such as the economy and jobs - matters that directly affect young people.

Young people, he said, are taking steps to spearhead change and ensure that immense progress is attained for decades to come.

“If not dealt with well, they could also be the ones to cause a nation to fall into crisis. So I always believe that the youth can be this double-edged sword,” he said, underlining the need to ensure that “the tip of that sword becomes an asset, not a liability”.

Syed Saddiq also took the opportunity to remind Muslim governments to give space to young people.

“There must be a collective signal in the Muslim world that this must be done, that our voices must be heard, that our voices cannot be ignored and sidelined.

“Those who sideline these very voices are those who are most likely to fail, while those who listen are the ones who will succeed,” he said.