Malaysia has a new definition for ‘youth’, which is now between the age of 15 and 30. It was redefined after the amendment on the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act (Amendment) 2019 (Act 668) was passed in Dewan Rakyat on July 3.
The proposal to amend the law was tabled by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq. It led to an almost five-hour long debate before passing the Dewan Rakyat.
Previously, ‘youth’ was defined from the age of 15 to 40 in Malaysia. It was ridiculous that someone who is approaching his/her 40s was still considered a youth. On the other hand, the United Nation defines “youth” with the age range of 15 to 24 years.
However, the new changes in Malaysia’s definition of ‘youth’ drew criticisms from Malaysian Youth Council (MYC) and eight other youth groups for being impractical. It is a concern that youths below the age of 30 might not have enough experience to lead, thus youth groups will risk the potential of dying due to leadership and management issues. Therefore, the youth groups suggested to define ‘youth’ to the ages between 15 to 35 instead.
Ironically, Syed Saddiq (PPBM) is the only ‘youth’ among the Youth chiefs in the four component parties of Pakatan Harapan. Other Youth chiefs are PKR’s Akmal Nasir (age 32), DAP’s Howard Lee Chuan How (age 36) and Amanah’s Mohd Sany Hamzan (age 40).
Whereas, Asyraf Wajdi was 42 years old when he was elected as UMNO Youth chief last year. He is way older than the previous definition ‘youth’.
Does the redefinition of ‘youth’ mean anything? Will political parties conduct re-election to replace their youth chiefs who have exceeded the age of 30?