What Millennials Think The Govt Should Be Doing Right Now

It’s been one year since Pakatan Harapan’s historic win at GE14. For the first time in Malaysia, the opposition party toppled the governing party in an unprecedented victory. PH won a simple majority in the Dewan Rakyat and Malaysians went wild.

This is what most Malaysians were fighting for even if we did a simple, but significant thing. We voted for a fair election and a new government.

The good news is that 57% of Malaysians believe that the new government is on the right track. One year after GE14, Malaysians’ number one concern is crime and violence, as opposed to the rest of the world whose major concern is political corruption. So, here’s what millennials think the government should be doing right now.

1. Re-evaluate the race-biased 90:10 quota for the matriculation program

The Cabinet recently revealed that they have increased the intake of non-Bumiputera students from 2500 to 4000 but the 90:10 quota remains. This means that 36,000 places will be allocated to Bumiputera students, instead of 25,000 in the past. The 90:10 quota has helped the Bumiputera to attain higher education in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’s fair to everyone of all races in the present. P. Ramasamy, the Deputy Chief Minister of the state of Penang and member of political party DAP, expressed his disappointment in the current government’s decision. He said:

“It appears as though the Cabinet was not prepared to take a bold decision in increasing the intake of non-Malay students, particularly Indians.”

If we want the quota to reflect our demographic data, shouldn’t it be 70:30 instead, if we’re doing away with the option of merit and income-based intakes entirely? Whether you’re Malay, Indian, Chinese or East Malaysian, there will always be people who are poor and more in need of affordable higher education than others. We hope the government considers this issue.

2. End child marriage

Malaysia receives five applicants of child marriages daily. Although the minimum age of marriage in Malaysia is 18 for non-Muslims and 16 for non-Muslims, children can still be married off if their parents or spouse manage to obtain consent from the Syariah court. It doesn’t help that the Kelantan government urged the parents of an 11-year-old girl who married a 44-year-old man to legalize the said marriage.

The government needs to be more stern in enforcing laws and taking action against cases like these because the child could have been groomed. Children cannot consent, and we hope other states in Malaysia make a move to eradicate child marriage from the country. The good news is, Sabah is set to become the first state in Malaysia to ban child marriage. Sabah’s Law and Native affairs minister, Datuk Aidi Mokhtar said:

“We have agreed to raise the minimum marriage age to 18, so we are proposing that the Islamic Family Law Enactment and the Native Courts Enactment plus any other relevant laws be amended in the coming state assembly sitting.”

3. Create more affordable housing plans

As the prices of homes skyrocket up to RM800,000 for a small condominium in the city, it’s no wonder that more Malaysians are choosing to live with their parents. The solution of DBKL’s micro-homes going for a monthly fee of RM100 only addresses a small issue of a big crisis. What about married couples, who need more space as they start a family?

Although the Rumahku Selangorku project ensures that affordable housing is available in the state of Selangor, prices for homes everywhere else haven’t been reduced according to what Malaysians can afford. Instead of seeking advice from housing developers, the government should look into enforcing affordable housing plans nationwide.

4. Create a working environment that encourages women to stay in the workforce

In 2018, the previous government proposed a mandatory 90 days’ maternity leave for women in the private sector. except that it gives employers from the private sector a reason to not hire married women. According to the World Bank Data, in Malaysia, mothers are not guaranteed an equivalent position when they return to the workforce after maternity leave.

While it’s important to note that the previous government addressed the issue of maternity leave, it’s time for PH to step it up and acknowledge paternity leave too. Studies show that fathers who take time off to bond with their new baby would often do a fair share of the childcare chores and are more engaged with their child.

When it comes to creating a workforce that encourages women to have a career, maternity leave isn’t the only issue we need to address. Paternity leave for at least two weeks and flexible working hours for working parents needs to be part of the solution too.

5. Focus on environmental conservation

The good news is that the government is doing something to reduce pollution in Malaysia. Earlier last week Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin managed to stop and send back 24 cargo containers of plastic waste that was to be illegally dumped in Malaysia.

“Malaysia will not be the dumping ground of the world.” – Yeo Bee Yin.

Despite this, things don’t look much better for Malaysia’s endangered animals. The Sumatran rhino was the most recent of Malaysia’s endangered animals to go extinct and the elephants may be the next to go. The Malayan pangolin, Malayan tiger, and the Banteng cow are also among the top of endangered species in Malaysia.

The government should make an effort to stop the illegal poaching of endangered species work on protecting these animals. Instead of focusing on conserving the environment from a Western perspective, the government should look into forming initiatives with indigenous communities and tap into their environmental knowledge regarding conservation strategies.

These are just a few issues that need to be ironed out in Malaysia. As a millennial, what do you think our current government should focus on? Let us know in the comments below.