"It is common knowledge that our economic status is still at a lower level compared to other races – that’s a reality. Until today, the income of the Malays is lower than other races. Many say; Malays have Amanah Saham! But according to the latest research by Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid in his book Colours of Inequality, it’s ironic that our average investment in ASB is only RM 600 when the limit is RM 200,000"
KHAIRY JAMALUDDIN ABU BAKAR
LEADER OF THE UMNO YOUTH MALAYSIA
AT THE UMNO YOUTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
26 NOVEMBER 2014, 8.30 AM, DEWAN TUN HUSSEIN ONN, PWTC
Perahu dikatup dengan daun
Penuh sarat berisi lokan
Kalau hidup seratus tahun
Sepanjang hayat Pemuda berkorban
Sampan kotak mengapa dikayuh
Hendak belayar ke tanah seberang
Patah kepak bertongkat paruh
Pantang menyerah di tengah gelanggang
- Here I stand in front of all of you this morning – in remembrance of the party’s sacred struggles, humbled by my duty, and grateful for the sacrifices made by the UMNO leaders of the past.
- All praise be to Allah, and let us give out thanks to Allah Rabbul Izzati, for He is forgiving and merciful. It is through His grace and will that we are once again gathered in this majestic hall, much like our past years’ tradition. We offer our praises and blessings unto Prophet Muhammad (peace be unto him) and his kin.
- As an organization, we gather here not merely as a constitutional requirement, but for a greater purpose – to set the strategy and agenda of the delegation, and to uphold the dignity of the nation and our people. This is in line with the words of Allah SWT in Surah Al-Maidah, verse 2.
Which means, “…Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancour: fear Allah. for Allah is strict in punishment.”
- If we were to look back, much has happened in the past that has made us reflect and question our own identity. How do we forge a Malay identity that can bring us forward against the tide of uncertainty?
- I recall a wise saying: do not be ashamed to be a person of race. In this morning’s context, don’t be ashamed of being Malay. We should not have to be embarrassed when speaking of the direction and future of our own people. And more importantly, we do not have to be apologetic to others because this is about us. If we ourselves do not stand up to defend the dignity of our own people, who else will?
- But being a person of race comes with big responsibilities, and this does not stop at defending the struggles, expanding the legacies or continuing the traditions of the Party per se. A dignified person of race will continuously look at the reflection of himself through the eyes of the community. A progressive person of race will always know the directional latitudes of his community.
- We as the youth in the party are compelled to prove to the nay-sayers that we choose hope instead of destruction. We want to disagree with all due respect, debate with full knowledge and refute with fairness. If that is to be our way, insyaAllah, UMNO Youth will continue to carry the ethos of the Malay community which is truly free!
- It has been long overdue for us to come together and rejuvenate UMNO. In the same context, when we talk about rejuvenation, or the matter of being attractive to the young, we all know that the Youth wing is at the party’s front lines. I refer to the party president’s wise words at the UMNO convention in Johor: give young people space and opportunity. And as I have said at the recent UMNO Youth town hall, the young should not be seen as a threat, but as hope.
- History and tradition show, that since the formation of the UMNO Youth wing until today, we remain at the forefront in attracting the young into the party. Days will turn into months, months into years, and years into decades, yet UMNO Youth will continue to be the torchbearer to lead the younger generation on the path of change. But we are capable in adapting to different styles depending on circumstances of the day and current trends.
10. In recent times, UMNO Youth is focused on bringing true change to the young people of Malaysia through our politics of service. We also emphasized on issues that are truly relevant in their daily lives so that the struggle is targeted, and that our service can expand.
11. But what is sometimes unsavoury, is that our sincerity is doubted, spat upon and questioned. Not by outsiders, but from those within our own party. The UMNO Youth has become an easy punching bag. If there is anything wrong or off in the party, any mistakes when carrying out our duties, it is always us who will be blamed. When our members are not chosen as election candidates, we are accused of sabotaging the party. All this, while we are the ones who will be up in the middle of the night fighting the enemy. This is not just an old story, but one that is constant and current.
12. We were accused of sabotaging the campaign when the chosen candidate was not from the UMNO Youth rank for the Pengkalan Kubor by-election. We were apparently reported to have stand down our machinery, boycott, and even protest - as if the these reports were true. But the by-election results can easily prove otherwise. Due to our undivided love for the party, UMNO Youth remains committed in carrying out the party’s struggle. In short, we put in genuine effort and we proved this to everyone! Pemuda Tumpat and Kelantan are testament that we have never gone astray from giving our all to the party. No matter what the accusations are, UMNO Youth will continue to carry out our duties not because of self interest, but because of the struggle. All our hard work and effort paid off eventually when we managed to increase the number of votes from the youth. In the same vein, I congratulate Pemuda Teluk Intan for helping BN in successfully wresting back the parliamentary seat.
13. Some will say that although UMNO Youth have served the needs of the young and that we are brimming with ideas, we have lost our bite. That we are no longer the pressure group, not steadfast in defending the party, and not vocal in our fight. I want to remind everyone that UMNO Youth has not forgotten its roots. When it is time to fight, we fight! Would they dare say this to Pemuda Wilayah, or Pemuda Pulau Pinang? When the dignity of the party is challenged with DAP calling it ‘celaka’, they were the ones at the very forefront risking arrest and prosecution – all in the name of defending the party’s honor.
14. There was never an inkling of question in my mind that the UMNO Youth resolve is wavering, our spirit burns endlessly, our vigor limitless for the sake of the beloved party – but it is a shame that at times, we get neglected and fall behind. This makes me feel despondent.
15. Despite my desolation, UMNO Youth has never let this fester into spiteful hatred and vengeance that can destroy the party. We hold onto the words of Saidina Ali Abu Talib: anger is the mind’s greatest enemy. But remember, my friends. The process of rejuvenating the party cannot be boxed simply into the rhetorical aspect – that will go against our struggle. The rejuvenation of the party has to be of highest importance on the platform of reality, so that all can see, and all can understand that it is truly our desire to rejuvenate UMNO.
16. The young does not just analyse UMNO Youth, they evaluate by looking at the party in its entirety. If there is the perception that there is no space or opportunity for the young in UMNO, why would they possibly want to join our party? Do we really think that the party is young and contemporary in their eyes? You and I both know the answer.
17. While we do not lack in youth support, why is it that there are still young people who support the opposition – even more worrying are those who joined that chauvinistic party? The answer is simple - that party is seen to be giving opportunities to the young. Though inexperience , one can become an election candidate. If we were to look in the Dewan Rakyat, there are many more young faces sitting across the aisle compared to our side. It is situations like these that form the perception that they are ready to uplift the young.
18. If that is the trend of our political foes, where is our wow factor? Are there not enough intellectuals, gifted orators or fiery debaters among the young in UMNO to be elevated? Or do we still see the young as errand boys and extra muscle to hang up party colours and ferry voters on motorcycles every time there is an election? This may be so 50 years ago, but the world and its ways have changed. And if we refuse to change, it is our place which will change through the young voters’ ballots.
19. Walking down memory lane, UMNO is actually a young people’s party. There was once when the party leadership was chock-full with young blood at the very highest level.
- Tan Sri Rais Yatim became Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan at 36 years old;
- Tan Sri Shahrir Samad became a deputy Cabinet minister at 31 years old, and the Federal Territories Minister at the age of 34;
- Tan Sri Isa Samad became Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan at 33 years old;
- Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Chik was the same, taking office as Chief Minister of Malacca at the age of 32;
- Tun Musa Hitam became acting Secretary General of UMNO at 32 years old, a Cabinet minister at 40;
- Tan Sri Annuar Musa, by 34 years old, he became Cabinet minister;
- Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was Petronas chairman at 35, and Finance Minister at 39 years old;
- And the same goes for the father of our President, the late Tun Razak who was elevated to become Menteri Besar of Pahang at the age of 33, and deputy prime minister when he was 35 years old.
Unfortunately we have fallen behind times. It is only I – the leader of UMNO Youth – as the sole Cabinet minister below the age of 40. This is not something that I want, and I cannot be the only person to have pulled through – even that was just recently – I want you and many more of my peers to join me! It is only then that there is transformation.
20. It is not that we are greedy in wanting positions or status, but we cannot deny that the generational and demographic shift is happening right in front of our eyes.The boat is there in the water and the oar is already at hand. What more is there to wait for, and share the wheel with us, the young. Be quick in pairing up those who are experienced with the young, all to chart our future. We want the voice of the young to ring from every level of the nation’s administration. Pemuda in Dewan Rakyat, Pemuda in the state legislative assemblies, Pemuda in GLC, Pemuda as deputy ministers and many more Pemuda as federal ministers!
21. We have to accept that we are varied. The Malaysian identity is diverse; our religion, culture and way of life are all different. It has not been easy to get where we are now, to go through the challenging path of unity which has been forged and paved since pre-Independence to this day.
22. The peace that we have today is actually built on our ability to balance a multi-ethnic society. It started with the Social Contract which formed the bedrock of this country 57 years ago.
23. It was at that time that our founding fathers deliberated in coming up with the best formula for all the races through a social contract. It was not easy for them to find a middle ground that is fair without disrespecting anyone and denying anyone’s rights.
24. The basis of the Social Contract is that while the Malays agree to the granting of citizenship by the way of Jus Soli, it has to be requited through the acceptance of Article 153 in the Federal Constitution which provides for the special privileges of the Malays, Article 152 which protects Bahasa Melayu as the national language and Article 181 which seals the sovereignty of the Malay rulers. Overall, this give and take spirit also encompasses the status quo of the vernacular education which existed pre-Independence, and which will continue to exist.
25. Immediately after, the demographics of the nation changed drastically when the Malays opened the doors of the land to other races to build a nation together. We cannot imagine how big a sacrifice this is. So great were the sacrifices of the Malay people, and all that we ask for in return is for the non-Malays to accept several of those matters which I just brought up as the other end of the bargain.
26. In the spirit of this Social Contract, there was a significant increase in the political power of the non-Malays. Out of the 1.28 million registered voters in 1955, 84% of which were Malays, 11% Chinese and 4% Indians. Imagine, my brothers, in 1959 general election, just four years after, the Chinese and Indian voters increased to 36% and 7% respectively. This is one of the biggest demographical changes in the history of modern civilisation.
27. In our diversity we steered the country, balancing the rights of the different communities on the scales of equality. No longer are there voices of the Malays questioning the citizenship rights of the non-Malays, as the UMNO leadership and government have long accepted and enforced the Social Contract. We no longer bring up the matter of the citizenship rights that were accorded, and we accept the fact that our non-Bumiputera friends are people of this country as citizens. My country, your country, our country!
28. And although there are fringe voices questioning the existence of the vernacular schools, the UMNO leadership has long accepted this system of education. It is already forged in the laws of the land and not even the Minister of Education can change the fate of the vernacular schools. In fact, when YAB Prime Minister tables the annual budget, he, who is also the UMNO President, continues to give special allocation for vernacular schools year after year.
29. In this premise, we agreed to give citizenship rights to the non-Malays and for them to retain their mother tongue language while at the same time the non-Malays will accept the Malay special privileges, Bahasa Melayu as the national language and the sovereignty of the Malay rulers. The Malay people accepted and they have never questioned the agreement that we all have come to.
30. However, why are there still those who do not respect this agreement? If the Malays can accept it by not raising the matter of citizenship and acknowledging that we cannot shut down vernacular schools, why are there those among non-malays who refuse to honour what they have previously agreed upon? Why are there those who ask for the Malay special privileges to be stopped, those who dispute the position of the Malay rulers and even those who cannot speak a word of the national language. If the Malay people are steadfast in their principles of upholding the agreement, we want to demand that they uphold their end of the bargain. Never again dispute what has been agreed upon. We are not demanding that they give up what they already have, but merely to keep to what we all have agreed together.
31. Whatever that has been promised must be fulfilled, brothers. If we do not want to bring up these matters of the things that have been given, do not question the special rights and privileges of the natives. It is on the basis of this agreement that we can form and foster a Malaysia that is harmonious. This is the way, and it is the best way for all.
32. With unity in mind, UMNO Youth believes that there has to be boundaries to every form of freedom. Whatever that is sensitive, whatever that can bring our unity into dispute, must be avoided. Whether the Sedition Act is to be retained or improvised, the discussion becomes hollowed if we do not understand the spirit and direction of a diverse nation. Whether they are Acts, bylaws or customs, sensitive matters should be left untouched. Why should we fan the flames of anger?
33. What we need now is a shield– not just for the Malays – but all Malaysians. With that in mind, whether the Sedition Act is to be amended or reviewed, what is most important is that there has to be provisions which will stop and punish anyone who makes seditious statements or acts. These provisions serve as protection not just for the Malays, but all the other races. If there are those who would cross the line and insult the national language or the Malay rulers, UMNO Youth will urge for swift prosecution. At the same time, if there are those who scorn or insult other races, UMNO Youth should also be the first in demanding that action be taken against them! To the leadership in Government, UMNO Youth urges that no matter what happens to the Sedition Act, with whatever new name that it assumes, we want the powers vested in this law to be retained in some ways as a shield for all. Without it to protect us, the nation would be in ruins.
34. However, in this day and age we cannot just rely on the Sedition Act in today’s world. We also cannot just refrain ourselves from questioning rights of others. We must have unity in our principle and stand firm in the spirit of togetherness to shape a united Malaysia. All of us must be committed in shaping the very fabric of our national unity.
35. Malaysia does not practice assimilation; we should not forcibly inculcate our culture upon others as was practiced in many neigbouring countries. What we want is a form of integration where we respect one another’s norms and culture. We need to have a few things that bind us together to one another; one of them is the National Language.
36. But reports from National Service statistics showed that there are still many who are unable to converse in the National Language. How can we move forward as a nation? The Malay Language is the National Language and with it, comes what binds and unites us. But many are still unable to converse in the Malay Language, many from those who undergo vernacular schools.
37. Vernacular schools should be continued but we have to do something to strengthen national unity in this country. Everyone should be part of this process of integration, and not remain in their silos. Show a bit of love for your country. Do not grumble about it if you refuse to stand when the Negaraku plays around you. Show the world that we are not divided by our ethnic silos, we are the citizen of Malaysia!
38. Our independence will be futile and our unity non-existent if this is the path we continue on. Uphold your citizenship with respect because to be a citizen means that we are together, as one, as equals and as people of Malaysia!
39. As we head towards 2020 – we’ve spoken about the rejuvenation of the party, and race relations among our Malaysians – it is only fitting if we speak about the Malays. The heartbeat of UMNO has always been the Malay struggle. There has been a lot of rhetoric, but what are the results? How are we achieving these?
40. It is common knowledge that our economic status is still at a lower level compared to other races – that’s a reality. Until today, the income of the Malays is lower than other races. Many say; Malays have Amanah Saham! But according to the latest research by Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid in his book Colours of Inequality, it’s ironic that our average investment in ASB is only RM 600 when the limit is RM 200,000.
41. When we talk about education, even though the government has given an incentives exempting repayment of PTPTN for excellent students, 78% of those who got first-class honours and got exemptions are not Malays.
42. Where does all this leave the Malays as we are already behind in the economic and education spheres, and when you look at social ills and moral decay, we are behind as well. Out of 10 drug addicts, 8 are Malays. That’s not even counting cases of baby dumping, incest and street crime.
43. There’s no point in pointing fingers now. I want us to stand up, know, and understand that the Malays need a coherent way forward to improve our future. Time is not on our side; it would be an utter shame if Malays are not developed when Malaysia reaches developed nation status in 2020. So how are we to change our fate?
44. It is true that we have power, but as of now, what have we done with it? There is no point proclaiming “Long Live the Malays!” if we don’t have a strategy and coherent plan.
45. The most pertinant thing in life is the desire and bravery to change one’s fate. As Pramoedya Ananta Toer, author of The Earth of Mankind put it “In life, there’s only one thing that’s ours, which is bravery. If we don’t have that, what’s the value of living?” In our quest to develop ourselves in this millennium, I implore all to act now and bring success to the Malay agenda with courage and careful planning. There is no point in enthusiastically defending our position, without tangible action and service. This new direction must see clear results and success should be measured accordingly.
46. Consider this short list a call to arms, a wake up call for us to act. First, let’s look at the question of Malay reserve land. Recently we were shocked by reports that the acreage of reserve land has dropped drastically from 50% to 12%. Pemuda should go forward, and find answers to ensure that the rights enshrined in our Enactments since 1914, and the Wills of the Malay Rulers, are not pawned away. Where did we go wrong here? Research has shown that one of the reasons is that authorities do not replace Malay reserve land that’s been gazetted out with land of equivalent size.
47. Umno Youth must not be silent on this issue; we urge for the Malay Reserve Land Enactments to be fully enforced. We must review the list of Malay Reserve lands that has been gazetted out and ensure that the land is replaced immediately. Let us not sit still and watch these irresponsible parties continue to trample on our rights.
48. Umno Youth proposes the formation of a Malay Land Trust Council that involves all states. This Trust Council should not only protect Malay Reserve land, but is also responsible for ensuring its development. What’s the point of owning land, if you don’t add value on it for the benefit of the Malays?
49. Secondly is the question of the Malay ownership of land. The latest data has shown that the Bumiputera only own 5% of property in Malaysia. Umno Youth looks at this seriously – even though 58% of Malaysians who live in cities are Bumiputeras – this percentage does not commensurate with the percentage that own property.
50. There are many reasons this has happened. If housing developers can’t sell their Bumi quota in six months, they get an exemption. There are irresponsible ones who cheat. They reduce the promotion of these quotas because they know they’ll get an exemption and can sell these properties on the open market. Umno Youth proposes that the period to find Bumi buyers is extended by a further 3 months. In this period, Umno Youth proposes that the Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Urban Wellbeing (KPKT) is given the opportunity to find Bumiputera buyers or sells those units directly to GLCs to uphold the Bumiputera agenda.
51. On that same line, who amongst us has not stepped into a shopping mall in our big cities? Most of these shops are not owned by Malays. After research, we found that in the main shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur owned by non-Malays, the percentage of Malay retailers are less than 1%. What is more disappointing is that in shopping malls owned by GLCs, which include some of the finest in Kuala Lumpur amongst them, only less than 3% of owners are Bumiputeras. This isn’t because thereis a lack of Malay retailers; we have heard plenty of stories where they have been kicked out of shopping malls. Apparently Malay retailers are just not good enough. This must be put to a stop; Malays shouldn’t go to shopping malls just to look around or window shop. We should look for opportunities to trade and increase our income.
52. Existing programmes have to be streamlined, and avenues for these traders have to be increased. That is how we support Bumiputera traders to enter the retail space. We do not want Malay traders to just enter the markets; we want them to stay and expand their businesses.
53. Fourthly, the issue of skills and income of Malay professionals. We are very proud that many young Malays now become professionals, when compared to decades ago – a positive development for a country on the cusp of developed status. It is also an indication that Malays are not left aside from mainstream development.
54. Nevertheless, we should not be content with the current number of Malays in the corporate sector, but should strive for more of them to have high-income jobs. If today Malays make up most professionals earning RM 2,000 a month or less, then let us ensure that in the near future, Malays also dominate jobs with incomes of RM 10,000, RM 15,000 or even RM 20,000!
55. Programmes under the Bumiputera Education Foundation have to be increased. We want more young Malays to have professional certification. When we look for accountants or financial experts – it is difficult to find Malays. Or when we look at new fields in Science and Technology – it is difficult to find Malays. But I know there are professionals in these fields present here today. Umno Youth itself has programmes like ProSkill under the Young Professionals Bureau to give skills training to professionals. But this is not enough, we have to increase our efforts to empower young Malays and ensure that they are the majority among professionals in the workplace.
56. Fifth, we want to raise the issue of discrimination at the workplace. Although it has been discussed many times, there are those who still advertise jobs exclusively for one race. In government, we don’t practice discrimination. Similarly so in the police and the army. So please stop doing it. It is time that we have an Anti-Discrimination Act in the hiring of workers.
57. In the private sector, GLCs have to be cognisant of the Bumiputera agenda. The performance of a CEO should not just be seen from the profit angle, but the Bumiputera agenda that he or she has been entrusted with. Do remember Y.A.B. President’s speech during the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Council Speech at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) last year, where he made it clear that all GLC CEOs have to place targets towards Bumiputera participation, and this has been formalised in their KPIs. Umno Youth wants to know; now that it has been a year, how far have these CEOs gone towards achieving their KPIs? If they haven’t reached these KPIs, there are many more who can take their places.
58. When we talk about the private sector, and the Bumiputera agenda, there are those who abuse the system. They abuse the privilege given to them to get a Bumiputera status for their company, but only to sell their contract to a non-Malay firm. There are many with Bumiputera status, but only in name and on paper, with profits and control not in Bumiputera’s hands..
59. As a result of this, Umno Youth agrees with the suggestion of the Malay Economic Action Council (MEAC) to establish a certification agency under MACC to ensure that this is put to a stop. Umno Youth also agrees that companies that practice this should be blacklisted so that the Bumiputera agenda returns to its original aims and struggles.
60. Such economic achievements will be in vain if we as Muslims do not nurture, maintain and defend the morals and values of our faith. Today we find ourselves cornered, facing the ever-rising threat of extremism - a form of extremism that arises from a militant ideology that abuses religion in condoning murders and destruction. Just look at the attempts by the militant group Islamic State in leading our youth down a destructive path. Young Malaysians make up a majority of those involved in this group. Today our YAB President is tabling a White Paper in Parliament on the threats posed by IS.
This religious extremism has to end now. The principle that we have to inculcate in our youths is the moderate way (Wasatiyyah), which is in line with the word of Allah SWT in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 143.
We have made you a moderate Ummah (nation) so that you may testify against mankind and that your own Rasul may testify against you
It is better for us to provide an alternative avenue for our idealistic Muslim youths to channel their energy. We should invite them to assist fellow young Muslims in trading to increase their incomes, to assist their Muslim brothers who do not have education opportunities, and to assist fellow Muslims by building houses for those without one because their countries are so poor. You are rewarded for building wells in rural areas. You sin by killing civilians per the IS struggle.
61. On the same note, our youths are also being influenced by carefree and perverted lifestyles. If we do not address this, our youths will be affected by social extremism. We know that the best way to prevent this is by educating them to avoid such ills. But no matter how well we educate and teach, it must be supported with the strengthening of the existing Syariah code. We implore the government to solve the conflict between civil and Syariah jurisdictions once and for all by taking into account the worries of the Muslims, the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation and the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution.
62. The Malay agenda, which I spoke about earlier, must be a collective KPI at every level of our struggle. After the Assembly, take swift action, don’t stay quiet and don’t waste time. Use the strength of Umno Youth to move and empower our agenda.
63. I implore Umno Youth to be the eyes and ears of the Government. We will monitor at the division level and we will create a mechanism for data collection that can be used by the Government. I want to give all of you a task; a KPI. Please identify how many Malay professionals you have in your division; please count how many Malay contractors receive government contracts in your division; please count how many young Malays enter university in your division; find out how many young Malays are plagued by social ills in your division. UMNO Youth will form a special secretariat at the central level to assist with the monitoring and the implementation of the Malay agenda at the grassroots level and introduce a Compliance Scorecard for this purpose. We always have plans but don’t do so well with implementation. Now Umno Youth will lead the charge to ensure the Malay agenda is adhered to.
64. The Malays have not failed as a race; the Malays are not a race that is in need of crutches, the Malays do not lack of their own achiements. Be it the Langkasuka and Kedah Tua kingdoms, Gangga Negara or Srivijaya, the Malays are the ones who brought civilisation to Malaya since the first century.
65. The Malays were the ones who brought a legal structure and sowed the seeds of unity with the people of Nusantara. These seedlings were the catalyst for the concept of race and culture, on the basis of Malay political power. It was Malay leadership that brought trade and exposure to the outside world. And we saw this gloriously expand, and last till now, during the age of the Malay Sultanate, where this land was one one of the main trading centres in the world – receiving visitors from Arab and Persia, China and India – and have been acknowledged by the greatest authors and explorers, from Marco Polo to Admiral Cheng Ho. With that legacy, we cannot rest on our laurels. The struggle cannot end now. History has shown that the Malays are a great civilisation, and it is time that we show the world that this is not only for the history books – that the Malays were great then, are great now and will be great forever.
66. It’s been more than a year since we defeated the opposition at the 13th General Election. Although we managed to win 54% of the Malay youth vote, the battle in the 14th General Election will be harder still. What more with the addition of nearly 5 million new voters.
67. Before I launch new proposals for government consideration, I’d like to register my unreserved gratitude to Y.A.B. President who has embraced our youths with his announcements at the last Budget. It’s not just allocation specific for the youths that has been increased, general issues like housing and entrepreneurship look like they’ve been crafted with youths in mind.
68. And this will strengthen the evolution of UMNO Youth under our leadership. Four years ago we changed our direction to the politics of service, and now it is time to bolster our dedication to this strategy. We shall continue to communicate the ideas of the youth to the leaders of our government, who have proven time and again that they are willing to listen to good ideas. One great example of a good idea that materialized from our efforts is the transit home programme which came from our very own UMNO Youth, and this has allowed newlyweds to find homes that are not too far from the city center. I would like to express my gratitude to the former Secretary of UMNO Youth, Y.B Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan who has been instrumental in turning this into a reality. And I would also like to thank him for being a Minister who not only listens to the voice of UMNO Youth, but also took action to materialize our ambitions.
69. It is true that there have been many forms of assistance targeted for the youth. But allow me to state Pemuda’s desire to create a new deal for the youth of Malaysia. There has been no lack of challenges for the youth; the cost of living continues to rise, and with it the needs of the youth.
70. From the perspective of the cost of living, the issue of housing remains one of the main struggles for our youth. Since 2012, the average cost of housing rose by 10%, in comparison to the rise of median income which was 8%. Average house price is 5.5 times income, unlike Singapore and UK with 5.1 and 4.7 respectively. How do we built a generation of youths who sees Malaysia as as their true home, when they cannot even buy their own houses here.
71. We are thankful for the government’s efforts in continuing to help the youth overcome this. We would also like to state our support for the 1Malaysia Youth Cities. This was again an idea that was brought forward by UMNO Youth, and this will begin with three pioneer programmes in the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak, with the objective of fulfilling the needs of the youth. Recently the Youth Housing Scheme was announced under the 2015 Budget, and this is an initiative that we welcome with open arms.
72. However in Kuala Lumpur, for this year alone, the amount of newlyweds has reached 14,000. The Youth Housing Scheme only provides 20,000 units nationwide, and this is definitely not sufficient for the whole country. Therefore we hope that this scheme will be a lasting policy, and that more units will be added on in the years to come. Additionally, 632 transit homes are not enough. The locations may be ideal, and the features are suitable, but the units must be increased to ensure the welfare of our youth who are just starting their own families.
73. Additionally, developers must allow for build and sell facilities for the youth or do not bring back Developer Interest Bearing Scheme (DIBS). Let us not ruin their hopes to own their first home, with debts and unfinished houses. There are those who say that this is not feasible because developers will simply not be able to profit from these ventures because of financing costs. This is simply not true, please do not be greedy- for we know that the profit margin for United States is only 12% and 14% in Thailand, but the profit margin for developers in Malaysia can go as high as 21%.
74. Umno Youth would also like to commend the state government of Johor for blacklisting 28 developers who failed to build their affordable housing quota. Let us not give them new projects, if they are not able to fulfill their promise to build homes at affordable prices. UMNO Youth believes that it would be fitting if this became a precedent for all states to follow.
75. When it comes to the issue of cost of living, the rising debt of the youth has long been within our sights. Far more alarming is the fact that the amount of young people under the age of 25 who have become bankrupt in the first quarter has risen by 178 percent, in comparison to last year. Just imagine our youth, who have just graduated from university and who want to start families but are declared bankrupt. Their futures have become bleak.
76. It is true that debts must be paid back. The impact is felt by other people, by future borrrowers. But there are debt collectors who cross the line. There are those who won’t stop calling, even when the debt is just a few hundred ringgit. There are those who are harsh, who speak as coarsely as Ah Long’s, even when repayment is just a week late. There are those who threaten to go to the debtors house, who threaten to bolt their doors, and threaten violence. UMNO Youth would like to give a warning to these debt collectors; collect your money, but do not cross the line and don’t be rude or violent.
77. When it comes to the root of this problem, one of the reasons debt is so high amongst our youth is because their knowledge on financial matters is low. This is a serious issue for those who are from low-income backgrounds. They are prone to choosing loans that have monthly or weekly repayment schemes that seem low, but actually have higher annual percentage rates.
78. To enact laws concerning this matter will take some time. Even the bankruptcy laws that UMNO Youth has proposed to be amended has not materialized. For the time being we need to protect these people. UMNO Youth would like to recommend that the goverment make it compulsory for lenders to be extremely clear about the real costs of their annual percentage rates.
79. These look like small issues, but the impact is overwhelming. Adding on to this, GST will be implemented in 2015. While there are so many who are worried, there are those who are taking advantage of this situation. UMNO Youth would like to call upon the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs to watch over this matter in a comprehensive manner. If businesses take advantage of the implementation of GST, and officers do not enforce regulations on them – we will be suffering the brunt of it in the next elections.
80. We also know that many youths have fallen bankrupt for failing to pay their hire purchase loan. Hire purchase debt is the second highest in the country, as high as 18% after the purchase of property as part of the household debt. Many youths under 35 years are bankrupt, how could they not be, when to buy a car requires 36 times the monthly salary, whereas in developed countries it is only 12 times.
81. It is clear that we need an initiative to help youths buy vehicles, to lighten the burden of debt and hopefully steer clear of the bankruptcy curse. Taking into account this problem, UMNO Youth is proposing to the government a Youth First Vehicle Scheme where youths earning less than RM4000 per month can buy their first vehicle without paying tax. This will reduce the price of the vehicle (include motorcycle as well) for youths who buy their first vehicle only. The vehicles that they are allowed to buy should not be that expensive, but instead moderately priced, and should be assembled in the country.
82. Before anyone says they’ve heard of this idea before, or ”Isn’t this the Opposition’s idea?” I’d like to clarify that it is unlike the Opposition’s populist policy, which is tax deductions for all vehicle buyers that will add to the government’s debt, increase traffic congestion, pollute the environment and only serves to give a discount to the rich. UMNO Youth’s proposal is based only on those who need it – the youths, and it doesn’t involve all vehicle buyers.
83. Even though we are addressing the needs of the youths, we must not forget the youths in rural areas. We must remember, like it or not, that the power of UMNO today still come from rural areas. And our victory today comes from the support of rural youths. As a responsible government, we need to empower the rural youth. Let them be of higher quality, more capable, and more marketable.
84. Y.A.B President has announced in Budget 2015 that the National Service Training Program (NSTP) will be transformed. UMNO Youth suggests that the transformation is focused on rural youths, who are given priority to participate in National service, where they are not only instilled with patriotism but also skills. Let them finish the program with skills - that they can easily get a job in the market.
85. Additionally, UMNO Youth would like to pledge our support for all efforts in producing more entrepreneurs among the rural youth. We should also support programs such as the Rural Business Challenge under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (MRRD) and Agropreneur Muda under the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry. UMNO Youth intends to have more opportunities given to rural youths in the agriculture trade, so that they do not need to migrate to cities in search of sustenance.
86. To develop the economy of rural youth, UMNO Youth would like to propose a Revolution of the Rural Youth Economy. Use the 120,000 hectares of unused land in this country, call upon the youth in the rural areas to develop it, and this will revolutionize our economy to increase the income of those who live in rural areas.
87. This is our new deal, a move that will be definitive in deciding the direction of our future in the coming age. If we look after the welfare of the youth under us, if base our service on their interests, we will win their hearts and we will surely win the next elections again!
88. We are a Malay party, no matter where we go or what we must overcome – this is who we are. A good seed, thrown into the seas, will become an island. If your origin is from the blood of warriors, no matter where you go you will continue to fight!
89. If once Malays were considered low-class, this is the party that has uplifted Malays into entrepeneurs, scientists and medical professionals. If once we were illiterate, poor, a race with no vision or mission, this is the party that has turned us into professors, lecturers and economic experts. If once there were people who said Malays did not amount to much, this is the party that has brought Malays to the forefront – from Malays of no consequence to Malays with the best minds!
To the youth
Do not be afraid of being cultured
Do not be ashamed of defending our rights
Do not waste our honorable traditions
Do not sell your self worth
Do not deny the truth
Do not lie to yourself
Do not say sorry, or ask permission from anyone
For even if we die fighting for our people
We do not win our battles upon the suffering of other people!
Our fight is not only for Malays,
We fight for all Malaysians!
90. Sons of the soil, wake up from your slumber. Keep your legacy close to your heart, steel yourself for battle, fight forever to protect your people, and to bring your country to glory, carry this nation in your heart for all time! For our party my brothers and sisters, you must light the fires, blow the horns of battle as loud as you can, keep close to your ranks oh warriors! Believe that this is what is best for our people, for our children, for those who will inherit our nation!
We live and die for our religion!
We live and die for our people!
We live and die for our beloved party!
Long live UMNO!
Long live UMNO!
Long live UMNO!