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Helping youth organizations adapt to new ruling

  • Youth organizations may need a longer buffer period to adapt to the new ruling.

Sin Chew Daily

The government has tabled the Youth Societies and Youth Development (Amendment) Bill 2019, redefining youth from the current age of 40 to 30.

This change will have far-fetching effects on youth organizations registered under the youth and sports ministry, while those registered with the Registrar of Societies will not be affected.

Redefining the age of youth of between 18 and 30 will have to force many youth organization leaders and members out of their familiar arenas.

Statistics show that among the incumbent youth organization leaders, some 19,280 or 55.9% of total are aged above 30. This means that more than half of the organizations may have to experience immediate leadership changes.

Youth organizations are largely unhappy with this new ruling, and indeed they have their reasons for that. Many of the leaders of youth organizations are older than 30. These people have accumulated a wealth of social experiences and connections and are therefore able to spearhead their organizations' development more effectively.

As for those aged between 18 and the twenties, many may still be engrossed with their studies or are just new in the job market. As such, they may not have sufficient time and energy to involve in youth activities.

Under such circumstances, if age 30 is made the upper limit, then many youth organizations may have to face the succession dilemma, not to mention a drop in their memberships.

The youth and sports ministry has proposed to amend this act with the objective of allowing more young people to take up the leadership role and giving them more opportunity to perform themselves.

While the motive is good, we must also take into consideration the real world situation while implementing the reform in a bid to avert possible “hard landing” that may adversely impact the healthy development of youth organizations.

Any change to the status quo is bound to bring adaption problem and pain. It is imperative that the youth and sports ministry seek a consensus through consultation in order to bring the impact to a minimum.

As a matter of fact, many youth organizations can accept the proposal of lowering the upper age limit of youth, but they feel that 35 is a more appropriate age instead of 30.

In the meantime, they also need a longer buffer period to adjust their operations.

Fortunately minister Syed Saddiq pointed out later that the proposal to lower the definition of youth from 40 to 30 will only take effect on December 31, 2021, and for the time being the government will lower the definition to 35 so that it will give youth organizations more time to adapt to the change.

In other words, youth organizations will have two years of buffer period.

Youth organizations in the country must make the best of the next two years to adjust themselves in order to adapt to the new ruling and groom their successors.

Meanwhile, the youth and sports ministry must also follow up and coordinate to help youth organizations overcome their problems so that they can continue to become an important platform for young people to learn and grow.


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