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Youth involvement in politics needs education

Young people are a segment of society that is often associated with the issue of maturity in politics. Interestingly, the matter of maturity is something abstract and cannot be measured only by age indicators. Maybe some of us have heard – age is just a number. A person’s age cannot guarantee anything, in all age segments there will be good and bad individuals. What we can do is ensure that every age segment in society has representation in government policy making. The spirit of young people needs to be perfected with the experience of older people. The synergy between the two age groups will certainly help the nation’s development process.

Many young people are given a negative image of politics, so we always hear the opinion that ‘politics is dirty’. In the 14th General Election we saw the rise of young people in their direct participation in politics. We certainly believe that the non-electional change of government that occurred when Pakatan Harapan fell has more or less strengthened young people’s views of political impurity. If young people give up on politics, we will see many people who do not get the mandate to become people’s representatives.

The nation’s hopeful youth…

There are several things that need to be improved to clarify the views of society, especially young people, towards politics. Democracy is a system formed on the basis of the belief that people have different views and are entitled to hold those views. This statement demands a more careful policy. The public, especially young people, need to be given confidence that change through elections is the best way to advance this country. As long as we do not succeed in giving political confidence to the youth, the future of this country is in danger. This political belief cannot be limited only to elections, including the attitude of young people all the time – there needs to be a response and criticism of young people towards the country’s political system.

Opportunity and education must move together

Undi18 Director of Advocacy and Co-Founder, Tharma Pillai said, the Malaysian Ministry of Education (KPM) is also trying to conduct studies related to the level of political awareness among students in schools. According to him, this development cannot be separated from calls from many parties to lower the voting age limit from 21 years to 18 years.

“When we emphasized Vote 18, we saw a clear effect. Among them is the national education system which indirectly helps students understand political issues. We will see the results in the next five to 10 years. In fact, we still need to emphasize further,” he said on the sidelines of the 2021 Youth Forum, as reported by Sinar Harian.

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Dharma from UNDI18

Tharma explained that young people need to be more prepared and aware of current state politics because as many as 7.8 million voters in 2023 come from this group. Young people differ from their parents in terms of being open to voting for politicians of different races and less loyal to political parties.

Youth of the nation’s hope. The involvement of youth in political and social activism is not new. In Thailand, for example, recently we saw young people protesting for constitutional amendments, demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister, and restoring freedom of action. The youth in Myanmar also evoke the same spirit, it is even more heartbreaking when someone is killed in defense of democracy.

In addition to expecting youth involvement in politics, the task of empowering young people is important because they are expected to become agents who play an active role in raising community problems and defending human rights. Political education is key in educating individuals about the importance of the right to speak.

This process takes time and sacrifice

We don’t even want to talk about the importance of youth in politics. To be sure, if young people let our politics be represented only by our parents, we will be faced with various problems. However, the issue of age is not the only problem that makes politics in our country a mess. That is part of the problem, and it can only be cured by aggressive and strategic moves among young people. It all starts with proactive steps such as creating a local youth movement. This problem is a structural problem because most political parties have low trust in young people.

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