High hopes rest on youth shoulders

Izah Azahari

The country has high hopes for its youth, and it is fitting that they are given the right guidance and support to achieve the National Youth Policy’s vision of producing – according to the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) – values-driven world class youth, who are future ready agents of change for national development, rooted in inclusivity.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin yesterday said this during the launch of the National Youth Policy and Strategy 2020-2035 and Volunteer Guidelines books at the Youth Centre.

The National Youth Policy and Strategy 2020-2035 book is the result of hard work and dedication from the beginning, he said.

“This policy belongs to all of us as it is manifested as a result of the solidarity of all parties involved in the review process which started in 2018, especially the input from the youth.

This is the reflection of the current Brunei youth who are more dynamic, involved, courageous in giving their views, and brave in taking action for the good of all,” Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan said.

Expanding further, the minister cited two youth-owned enterprises – Al-Huffaz Management and the FEED Management Services Project under the Bina Ukhwah Project – that won in categories at the ASEAN Business Awards, and were acknowledged for their efforts in expanding their business internationally. The ASEAN Business Awards was held virtually in Vietnam on November 13

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin presents the books to Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari. PHOTO: IZAH AZAHARI

“This is the status of our youth, that is, those who are indeed capable of achieving excellence globally and it is very important for the National Youth Policy and Strategy to truly reflect this reality.

“Overall, the National Youth Policy and Strategy 2020-2035 aims to ensure that the basic youth development guidelines formulated through the National Youth Policy 2002 remain relevant and sensitive to the current situation, particularly taking into account the impact of globalisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0),” the minister said.

As an update, the policy has been complemented by action plans, deliverables and key performance indexes (KPIs) in detail, as well as cross-cutting outlined by the ministries and other agencies with the guidance of CSPS, along with input from youth associations.

“With this reform, Alhamdulillah, we are very proud of the adapted National Youth Policy and Strategy that is in line with the aspirations of policies and strategies at the national level, in particular the Brunei Vision 2035, Digital Economic Master Plan 2025, National Climate Change Policy, and Manpower Planning and Employment Council Strategic Plan. Therefore, what is most important is that our journey is successful in implementing initiatives and strategies towards achieving the goals by 2035,” he said.

The establishment of the Youth Advisory Group, led by Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari, also plays a critical role as a check and balance body in the implementation of effective strategies and efforts to achieve the desired goals.

“In any process of reform, we must adhere to the national philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB), which is the core of our identity and civilisation that spans generations and time. Youth are a continuation of the present and future generations,” the minister said.

Among the significant reforms the minister outlined were the redefinition of youth as individuals aged between 15 and 35 years, (according to statistics showing the group itself comprises 37 per cent of the Brunei population today), as well as the redefinition of youth leaders as individuals up to 45-years-old, based on the importance of continuous close guidance of youth in preparation to become future leaders, especially in youth movements.

In response to volunteers’ needs, the ministry has taken steps to develop a Volunteer Application in cooperation with Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) and Baiduri Bank. “While it is acknowledged that this application has yet to be launched, we do see the importance of this application as a major platform that will make it easier for people to connect with volunteering activities,” said the minister, adding, “Insya Allah, we are targetting early 2021 for its launch.”