Effecting change: Political or non-partisan? - The SUN Daily
Comment by Tricia Yeoh
YOUNG Malaysians want to impact society but are struggling to figure out precisely how to go about doing so. I had the privilege of meeting with a group of young Malaysian students, all recruits under an excellent internship programme called “Otak-Otak” recently.
The programme places students from local and foreign universities in various governmental, non-governmental and private sector organisations for two months, and organises events where they would be exposed to discussions on a range of issues. This particular informal session, hosted by the Centre for Public Policy Studies (and sponsored by Citibank), for example, allowed an interactive conversation on youth involvement, civil society, political trends and national development.
Whilst the dialogue traversed topics on the education system, the economy, brain drain, Bersih 2.0, the role of the media and the country’s future direction, one key trend emerged. It was obvious that all of them follow political developments closely, and are acutely aware of the twists and turns taken by Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat (and, well, Perkasa), mainly through the online medium. This, after all, is the “clicktivism” generation whose “Likes” on Facebook or “Follows” on Twitter define their positions on politics and government.
However, it was revealing that when asked whether or not they would see themselves working in a full-time position over the next five to ten years within the civil service, a non-governmental organisation, think tank, media or active civil society, with the objective of contributing to national development, only four out of the 42 responded positively. The rest either felt it would be futile to fight the system, or preferred to work in a more productive environment such as within the private sector.