Abdul Karim (second right) officiating at the Jelajah Belia programme, in Balai Ringin.

KUCHING: It is a mission for the Youth and Sports Ministry to develop local youth to ensure a brighter future for Sarawak, said its minister, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said the establishment of the ministry by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was to emphasise on youth development, which is an important pillar in the community.

“If the youth of today have fallen prey to drugs and social illnesses, it will be reflected in our leadership in the future. That is why the ministry is tasked to develop youth as they will inherit the leadership in the future,” he said.

He said that during a Jelajah Belia programme held in Balai Ringin on Saturday.

Abdul Karim said all youth are leaders and that they must believe in themselves to have the ability to lead.

“It does not mean that only when you become a leader in the community that you’re are a leader — you can also be a leader serving in government agencies or in the context of leading your own family,” he said.

The Asajaya assemblyman added that coming from a low-income family does not hinder one’s potential to become a prominent leader.

“I have seen people who grew up in poor families becoming leaders in the government. They came from families of farmers, fishermen and labourers.

“If you have the spirit, you can be just as successful (as others). That is why the youth and sports ministry insisted on going to the rural areas. We want to develop our youth,” he said.

Abdul Karim who is also Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister said Sarawakians youth must also be instilled with the value of tolerance for people of other races and religions and reject extremism.

“We can’t say that our religion and race is better than others and that is what we are determined to portray. That what we want to instil in the youth and develop them for them to be successful in the future,” he said.