KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Faced with politically cynical youths, Selangor Pakatan Harapan (PH) is working hard to persuade this prime demographic group of the value of their vote.
In response to Malay Mail Online’s past report on some educated middle-class youths mulling abstention in the 14th general election, the federal Opposition alliance has been fine-tuning its outreach programmes to better address employment opportunities and other bread-and-butter concerns worrying Malaysian millennials.
“Abstaining doesn’t benefit the youths. They will not be making any changes. In Selangor we have a lot of youth programmes to help them get jobs and learn new skill sets,” Selangor PH secretary Zuraida Kamaruddin told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.
“But at the end of the day, when it comes to bread-and-butter issues like job creation, these things take time. We have to reach out to the youths and tell them that there is hope in Selangor and please give us your support so we can take care of your needs,” she added.
The head of the PKR women’s wing explained that her party, which is currently part of the Selangor ruling government, had allocated some resources designed to help young people enhance their personal and professional skills.
Among the initiatives Zuraida mentioned were the set-up of the Selangor Business School, a micro-credit service called Skim Hijrah Selangor, football clinics and fitness camps.
She also pointed to the RM1 billion investment by Ikea in Selangor. The Swedish furniture giant’s plan to build its Asia-Pacific distribution and supply chain centre in Pulau Indah is expected to generate many jobs for locals, which Zuraida believes will have a multiplier effect on the economy.
But the second-term Ampang MP worries that many youths may be unaware of the state government’s various initiatives.
“We don’t know whether or not they have received the messages and our explanations. We hope that our programmes will travel through word of mouth and these youths will listen to their friends who attended our programmes,” she said.
When Malay Mail Online pointed out that youths have lost trust in politicians on an ideological level and regardless of their political affiliations, Zuraida admitted that her party had made some mistakes in the past, such as the Kajang Move.
“Personally, Kajang Move is not a major concern for me because it was done and over with; it’s forgotten and we have moved forward,” she said.
She conceded that there may be others who hold different views and concerns on such political strategies and the impact on the party’s, and more broadly, PH’s future.
“But if it is perceived to be wrong, the end result is we have tried to serve the rakyat as best as we are able.
“We are still human and we made mistakes,” she said.