Putrajaya should look at Sarawak as model for tolerant society — Fadillah

Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof

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KUCHING, Sept 24: Sarawak has always been a model of a tolerant plural society, which is something that federal government should adopt as a model in any plan to encourage tolerance and social unity, advised Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chief parliamentary whip was responding to DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang’s recent message to the youths in Sarawak, urging them to spearhead efforts to fight racism and extremism, corruption and build a country that will be a showcase of coexistence between different communities.

“I thank Lim for that but I would like to remind him that Sarawak has been far ahead of Peninsular Malaysia when it comes to putting into practice the ideals of ‘new Malaysia’, which is the battle cry of the federal coalition,” he said in a statement.

Lim’s “special message” was addressed to youths who will be taking part for the first time in the Sarawak elections, following amendments to the minimum voting age earlier this year.

Among others, the Iskandar Putri MP said, “Malaysia cannot be saved merely by the efforts of a 94-year-old, a 78-year-old and a 72-year-old. If Malaysia is to be saved, we need the energies and idealism of the youths of Malaysia, with the youths in Sarawak playing a pioneering role, to be the driving and sustaining force to realise great dreams for Malaysia.”

However, Fadillah said the government should not limit with just empowering the youths with the appropriate tools but also help them to develop the passion for community development, to help them solve problems in an environment that celebrates different cultures, religions and backgrounds.

This is because youths grew up in different cultural, social, economic, political and technological contexts, with different experiences, ideas and solutions to bring to the table, he said.

“The youths in Malaysia are often criticised instead of us embracing their spirits. We failed to acknowledge that youth is an unpredictable age, often exhibiting impulsiveness.

“It is where we find a school dropout, or someone who could take ownership of the future with the potential to bring about a better society,” he said, adding that it is the government who must take responsibility for the coming generations and make them fall in the queue for making a sustainable future for themselves.

On the other hand, Fadillah said the current youth engagement is close to GPS, which believed it is critical when it comes to defending Sarawak’s political and democratic rights.

“GPS has long realised that empowering youths can only be through education, which is why steps have been taken to prepare the Sarawak with future expectations.

“We believe that education is the best tool to success, for the future of Sarawak and the future of the country. Thus we engaged and build the capacity of student leadership.

“We empower them to be part of the formation of policies,” he said, adding that it is a clear fact when Sarawak became the first state to introduce the teaching of Maths and Science in English, starting next year.

Fadillah opined that problems such as dropouts and employment mismatch as seen today, points to the failure of the current education system.

“The existing education system is ineffective. it fails to prepare youth for life and unlock growth in the economy by preparing our young people for the job market.”

However, he sees three underlying factors which can generate the power of today’s youth, namely smart growth based on knowledge and innovation, sustainable growth for a more efficient, greener and competitive economy and lastly, inclusive growth capable of delivering employment, social and territorial cohesion. — DayakDaily