KUCHING: Both the elderly and youths have their respective responsibilities to fulfil in order to empower youths in politics.
Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said it must be accepted that political empowerment of the youth was inevitable adding that responsibilities come from acceptance.
She added that the youth have to be ready through education and by learning the ropes.
“In addition, there has to be an element of maturity and responsibility in implementing the programmes and policies of the government,” she said.
She was responding to questions posed during a webinar entitled ‘Exploring the Unity in Sarawak through Intergenerational Understanding’ organised by Yayasan Perpaduan Sarawak (YPS) via Zoom and Facebook Live on Thursday (Sept 9).
Fatimah urged the seniors to open the doors for the younger generation so that they could learn and conduct programmes together under the guidance of the seniors.
“That is one of the ways of learning to do things, especially in the political arena. You have to experience, observe and do it in order to learn.
“This is with the seniors mentoring, advising and allowing the young ones to carry out some programmes themselves – but not abdicating their role,” she said.
Fatimah welcomed youth involvement, pointing out that the best way was for youths to participate in volunteering activities.
“Now, many activities and organisations are headed by senior people, but it is good to have ties between the young and the old,” she said.
She pointed out especially during the ongoing pandemic, many activities required the energy of youths alongside the advice of the seniors.
“In this way, a good relationship can be established between the old and the young with mutual respect. The old and the young each know their strengths and weaknesses,” she said.
For instance, she said youths were IT-savvy and this aspect could complement various programmes organised by seniors.
She said youths could get involved by volunteering with the Sarawak Social Welfare Department (JKMS), where volunteers are trained to help the elderly or people with disabilities.
“For the elderly, we train the youths or volunteers to carry out housework, buy groceries for them, sit with them, read to them, or just talk to them.
“I believe this is one way we can create bonding between different generations. It is mutually beneficial for both the volunteer and the ones they are helping,” she said.
In response to a question on dismantling the social stigma towards people with disabilities, she stressed the importance of creating awareness.
With the creation of awareness through the initiative of the relevant associations and also the government, Fatimah hoped people would be more understanding and inclusive.
“At the government level, we know that we still have a long way to go in order to provide for people with disabilities and to be as inclusive as possible in our society,” she said.
Noting that the state government had stressed social inclusiveness, she said there needed to be a strategic plan with programmes and policies in order to achieve this.