I paid a visit to Parliament today to attend the CPPS Youth Public Policy Roundtable on the 11th Malaysia Plan. Today is also the day there was a meeting in Dewan Rakyat about MH17, so the place was pretty packed out, with a lot of attention from the media, and traffic going into the building was quite bad.
I almost turned up in my chinos and casual shirt. Until my buddy Shie Haur told me that he was going to suit up. I think he gave me the right advice!
It was a full day session, and there were a lot of topics discussed over four key areas – Resilient Goverment, Liveable Cities, Human Rights and how Malaysia can become a Competitive Nation. As some of our brightest young Malaysians were expressing their views, I picked up some key areas that many of them agreed on:
1) Education solves many things
There were many topics that kept circulating back to improving education, although there were also some views that this would of course help the next generation of Malaysians, but how about a more immediate answer? I completely agree that access to a quality education is key, and we should really start there as a long term sustainable approach to fixing a lot of the issues we have in Malaysia.
2) If you care about something, have a hand yourself in making a difference
Many agreed that it’s not enough to debate what the government can do from a policy or regulatory perspective. Those who believe strongly in a cause should perhaps work with some of the existing NGOs to bring change themselves.
3) The ability to innovate is the key to making us more competitive
Strong support for innovation will help take Malaysia to the next level, as it will lead to a high income nation, reduce dependence on foreign workers, make us much more competitive, and will result in better quality of life. Someone gave the analogy that instead of hiring five low income workers using a broom, why don’t we provide a vacuum cleaner, and only hire ONE worker, but paying them a much higher salary.
The people I met in this round table showed a lot of passion for bringing change to Malaysia, and it gave me a sense of comfort that our country has the people to help move it in the right direction. I was quite tired when I got to the end of the day (yes it was a full day event), but would I do this again? Yes, of course.