KUCHING: Emphasis and equal opportunities should be given to youth in rural areas in line with the state government’s policy to bring about developments to non-urban environments.
Senior Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) youth leader Robert Ayu said although he agreed with the federal government’s effort and commitment to continue empowering the youth, programmes that focused on uplifting the underprivileged younger generation of the rural areas should also be established.
“These include conducting training and capacity building, in areas such as leadership, advocacy, gender awareness, communication and life skills; providing computer skills; encouraging parents to support their children to complete their studies; and fostering their roles in society, namely listening to their ideas and suggestions,” he said.
Robert said this in support of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recent announcement on how the government was committed to continue empowering youth for the development of highly innovative and sustainable human capital.
He pointed out that besides current initiatives and efforts, programmes including youth rights, youth activism, youth involvement in the community, in local government, or even at state or federal government level, youth led-media and youth council among others, should also be implemented.
Added Robert, “To truly empower youth means to include youth in the decision-making process, respect their voices, implement their honest opinions and ideas, and be willing to share adult power and privilege in order to make the community a better place for both the young people and adults alike.
“If the above are assured, yes, the youth will contribute back to the society, state and the nation.
“The outcome of the youth empowerment programmes will improve their social skills, their behaviours, increase their academic achievements, increase their self-esteem and increased self-efficacy.”
He said isolating young people, intentionally or unintentionally, especially in the rural areas could contribute to drug abuse, illegal and criminal activities, depression, migration and so on.
“My hope is the state government should push for the youth agenda which includes involvement in arts, culture, sports and volunteerism.
“Young people are the backbone of a society. Their participation in all aspects of society is very important,” added Robert.