Nation on the road to recovery: Youths urged to play their role in nation-building

By: Patrick Beech

After more than two years of uncertainty amid the Covid-19 pandemic, our country is now on a much stronger economic footing and on the road to recovery.

This was evident looking at the three consecutive quarters of economic growth since the fourth quarter of 2021.

Finance Minister, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz also pointed to the 8.9 per cent expansion recorded in the second quarter of this year.

"Our bold actions in saving lives and livelihoods, protecting businesses over the past two and a half years, have enabled us to build greater resilience in the economy to face future challenges, especially the bleak global outlook for 2023," he said in a keynote address at the Youth Economic Forum 2022 (YEF 2022) recently.

"Although we are aware that job numbers have improved, issues such as under-employment and youth unemployment must be addressed. This is where reforms come in to create long-term growth that will transcend generations and build social cohesion," he said.

Tengku Zafrul said this was reflected in Malaysia's unemployment rate of 3.7 per cent in August this year, which was back to pre-pandemic levels.

He also reminded youths that they are the future of the nation and urged them to play a key role in bringing back Malaysia's shine.

"You are the future of Malaysia. We will not prosper, nor will we survive, if our young remain passive and disengaged.

"So come forward with determination and the desire to remain invested in this country's progress as the torch of leadership, in your families, companies, communities, industries and even countries, will be passed to you all," he said.

Meanwhile, Perdana Fellow Alumni Association (PFAA) president Mistika Idris said the voices of the youth must be heard.

"Given the major challenges the world faces — a global pandemic, inflation, climate change, social disruption caused by digitalisation, and an employment landscape being transformed — it is amply clear that resilience is key.

"We are a generation that has seen challenges, integration and globalisation not as threats but as opportunities — for education, exploration, employment and exchange.

During the country's transition to the endemic phase, Mistika said the younger generation must uphold the responsibility to restore prosperity, inclusivity and sustainability.

"We want them to realise that there are many things that can be done to drive the economy during this transition.

"Many people complain about the state of governments, the efficiency of intergovernmental organisations or the legitimacy of non-governmental organisations and startups, but condemning only gets us so far.

"The change may not come today but it could with passion, perseverance, discipline and effort. We cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together," she added.