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LAST_UPDATEMon, 28 May 2018 9am

This Guarantee About Inclusivity In The BN Youth Manifesto Is Truly Inspirational, Here's Why

The guarantee to make Malaysia a country that provides opportunity for all segments of the youth population sounds like a bold promise unless one is truly committed to the cause.

But as highlighted by Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth chief, Khairy Jamaluddin, he means every word he said that night at the launch of Youth Manifesto at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on 10 April.

“I’ve got your back for the next five years, and I am not making empty promises. This is what we have laid out to do and I will make sure of it,” Khairy said at the launch, NST reports.

This guarantee of inclusivity jumped out of the pages, and to me is the most memorable guarantee.

In other words, the BN youth is promising that they will create a Malaysia that is more inclusive and without discrimination, for everyone.

The reason this stood out for me among the others is simple; the fact that it addresses something that Malaysia has always needed, inclusivity.

The Guarantee Of Inclusivity

 A simple Google search will show that right now, Malaysia is enjoying it’s best economic levels in recent years. The Gross Domestic Product is at an all-time high, Ringgit is going strong, and finally making headway against the US dollar. So now, it’s time for us to ensure that every Malaysian, from all walks of life will be able to enjoy the fruits of our very strong economy.

This guarantee on inclusivity is divided into two categories; Opportunities for Everyone and Second Chance.

In the Opportunities for Everyone, there are three guarantees.

The first one is that graduates from Tahfiz and ‘Sekolah Pondok’ will be provided with opportunities to enter the Halal industry, for them to enter the workforce.

The second one is to provide economic avenues for Orang Asli youths to enter the green sector.

And lastly; to make it easier for Differently Abled Person to enter the workforce by training them to work online, so that they won’t face discrimination.

Meanwhile, under the Second Chance programme, BN youth is looking to provide a second chance at life for four main categories of people, former juvenile criminals, former drug addicts, young single mothers, and homeless people.

In his speech, Khairy Jamaluddin said: “The BN government is committed and dedicated in the principle that there will be no one left behind.

“Just because some of our youths made one in their lives, does not mean that they should be punished for the rest of their lives,” said Khairy Jamaluddin.

But just how will the promises made in the manifesto affect the lives of the targeted segments?

To answer this question, we spoke to various experts from each field to understand the logic and the need behind this guarantee made by the BN Youth.

Providing A Pathway For Tahfiz And Sekolah Pondok Students

When discussing the prospects of a ‘Sekolah Pondok’ or a Tahfiz school graduates, there is one fallacy that almost always dominate the conversation.

That there is no future for graduates of a Tahfiz or a ‘Sekolah Pondok’.

Which is why in their manifesto, BN youth decides to tackle this issue head on, by promising to provide graduates from these school with the opportunity to enter the Halal industry.

“We will match the graduates of ‘Sekolah Pondok’ with opportunities to enter the Halal industry, so that they can be professionals,” Khairy exclaimed emphatically in his speech.

And this initiative is welcomed by the Chairman of Persatuan Institut Tahfiz Al-Quran Selangor, Ustaz Muhamad Hafiz Muhamad Haneefa.

“This initiative is very welcome for all Tahfizs around Malaysia because it is about time that someone placed some focus on the Tahfiz institutes in Malaysia.

“We have seen that so far, the government has now started to pay some attention to Tahfiz schools. This is good because in Malaysia, there are more than 1200 Maahad Tahfizs, with more than 60,000 students.

“So any initiatives that focuses on the welfare and the future of the students is very welcomed,” said Ustaz Hafiz.

Debunking the misconception that these students have no futures for them in the professional world is the first step.

The truth is, students from these institutes are just as capable of entering professional institutions as any other students.

And according to Ustaz Hafiz, this misconception is due to various reasons.

“This is because of some irresponsible quarters who prefers to pass judgment without doing their own research. If they did some research and reading, they will find that Tahfiz institutes does not only focus on Islamic studies, but they will also learn other mainstream subjects.

Ustaz Hafiz himself said that almost half of his students are working in the professional world.

“In all actuality, there has never been any difficulty for Tahfiz and ‘Sekolah Pondok’ students to gain meaningful employment. There has always been the traditional line of employments for Tahfiz students, such as Imams, teachers, and Ustazs.

“But in my own experience, more than half of my students also went to the professional industry. Some of them are now working as doctors, lawyers, and many more.

“Nevertheless, I still believe that the initiative by BN Youth is something that is very much needed, because it will go a long way to help eradicate the stigma that Tahfiz and Sekolah Pondok institutes face.

“Some parents are afraid of putting their children into these schools because they worry that their child will not be able to find work in the future,” said Ustaz Hafiz.

Ustaz Hafiz also says that the suggestion to integrate graduates from Sekolah Pondok and Tahfiz schools with the Halal industry is an ingenious idea.

“There is already history of Tahfiz graduates working in the Halal industry, so I think that this initiative will be very good to increase the numbers of the graduates entering the Halal industry,” said Ustaz Hafiz.

In conclusion, Ustaz Hafiz says that this initiative done by the BN Youth is timely, and will help the graduates as well as improve the perception people have on Tahfiz institutes tremendously.

BN Government Has Placed The Needs And The Importance Of The Differently Abled On The Forefront

 

Of course, when speaking about the importance of inclusivity in Malaysia, one group of people immediately jumps into mind, the differently abled.

It has been no secret that the BN government has always placed the needs and the importance of the differently abled on the forefront of their fight for a better life for the people.

This can be seen in their previous budgets, with the most recent Budget 2018 allocating RM1.7 billion to help the needy including the elderly, children and people with disabilities.

And this is now reflected in the BN Youth manifesto as well, with their plans to make it easier for the differently-abled to gain employment.

“If our Paralympic athletes can be an inspiration for the rest of our people, then why can’t our differently abled people as well?

“We will integrate the differently abled into the economy, so that they will be able to provide for themselves and also contribute to the economy,” said Khairy Jamaluddin in his speech.

In the manifesto, BN Youth said that they will look at training the differently abled into working online, so that they can work without discrimination.

And according to the President of the Rehabilitation Physicians of Malaysia Association, Datuk Dr Zaliha Omar, this is something that the differently abled have to face all their lives.

Dato Dr. Zaliha Omar

“The differently abled face discrimination almost daily. They find it hard to get on with their lives, finding employment is hard, and many other difficulties they face.

“I believe this is a much-needed initiative that is frankly, long overdue,” said Dato’ Dr Zaliha.

According to Datuk Dr Zaliha, the differently abled have long been facing discrimination, especially at the workplace.

“For example, let’s say that there are two candidates applying to a position in a company. If one of them is normal, and the other is differently abled, it goes without saying that the normal person will get the job, even if the differently abled candidate is more qualified,” she said.

Which is why she said that there is much more that needed to be done when it comes to the implementation of the policies that have been drawn up.

“The government has already drawn up great policies in place to ensure that the differently-abled are not marginalised. But now, the focus needs to be shifted towards the implementation of the policies.

“There should be more policing, to ensure that the policies are being adhered to,” she suggested.

Meanwhile, G Francis Siva, the President of The Independent Living And Training Centre Malaysia, which is a non-profit centre which focuses on the welfare of the differently-abled said that other than this initiative, the government should also look into how they can improve the quality of life for the differently abled.

G Francis Siva

“Of course, providing employment opportunities is good, but there should be more done to help the differently-abled person. Facilities, and awareness should be improved,” he said.

“But all in all, if the implementation is good, then it will go a long way to helping the differently abled.”

UMNO Youth Leader Khairy Jamaluddin had aptly observed in a recent Instagram posting that "the measure of a society is how we treat those who need our care and compassion the most" in his tribute on World Down Syndrome Day.

That observation best sums up why planning for our nation’s future and its youth must always have at its heart these two groups that need our care the most, the differently abled and those who fall through the cracks of our society’s safety net – juvenile delinquents.

This brings us to the importance placed on giving second chances to youths by the BN Youth Manifesto.

Ultimately, A Developed Nation Should Recognise That Everyone Deserves Second Chances

 A policeman watching over juvenile criminals during their break timeA policeman watching over juvenile criminals during their break time

Frankly, the most controversial one on the initiatives is the purported Second Chance Programme.

In the Second Chance programme, the programme will be focusing on training programmes, to ensure that the people in the segment will be able to carve out a new life for themselves.

According to the Deputy Chairman of GiatMara, Datuk Armand Azha Abu Hanifah, this is a truly commendable effort by BN Youth.

Datuk Armand AzhaDatuk Armand Azha

Datuk Armand reiterates that this programme shows that the BN government is not letting anyone slip by their safety net carefully woven for everyone.

“BN looks at the importance of every segment, including juvenile criminals and young single mothers. For BN Youth, every Malaysian are not exempt from any mistakes in life. But we should not keep punishing them, for they have already gone through punishment from the law.

“If we keep on holding them for their past mistakes, then the percentage that they might fall back to their old ways is very high. Which is why the best way to approach them is to give them a way for them to improve their livelihood and motivate them to be better,” said Datuk Armand.

Datuk Armand also provided some insights and thoughts of what kind of programme that can be provided for these people.

“I believe that the best programme for them will be a programme in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), because the opportunities it provides.

“And moreover, studies have shown that graduates from TVET programmes have a brighter chance of being entrepreneurs,” said Datuk Armand.

One of the biggest questions that is faced by the programme, will be how well will they be able to control the participants? With their history, there should be plenty of caution and worry.

But Datuk Armand simply said that there is no need to worry because they will not throw away the second chance that they get.

“I believe that if we treat them with respect and love, there is no way that they will throw away the second chance that is so hard to come by.

“If BN Youth did not raise this as one of their Manifesto, these people will always be pushed to the wayside by the community. BN believes that it is time for us to call for a change in this issue and give them second chances.

“If we want to strive towards a developed nation, then our thinking should also be of a developed nation. This is why BN is confident and ready to give them second chances,” concluded Datuk Armand.

After all, as the Manifesto said,” The true sign of a developed nation is not by how many successful youths it can produce but if there is no youth left behind.”

-mD