1Malaysia for Youth mobilises the young to give back freely to society
THE selflessness that moves the true volunteer is being mined by the government's latest social programme. The 1Malaysia for Youth (im4u) concept announced by the prime minister over the weekend is intended as a celebration of the young, and their energy and idealism for bringing change, to mark the upcoming Year of the Volunteer. To inculcate the spirit of volunteerism in Malaysia's youth, the government has also set up a RM100 million fund, the Dana Sekarelawan 1Malaysia (DRe1M), in conjunction with im4u. This kitty will provide the means for those who desire to help others and realise their altruistic dreams. There are many worthy causes: teaching Orang Asli children in the remotest areas, cleaning up after floods and other calamities, and lending a hand at shelters, to name but a few. The range of choices is diverse enough to include all the willing and able.
Themed "From Youth, To Youth, For Youth", im4u is the platform that will facilitate those young people wishing to contribute their time and skills for the betterment of the country. Focusing on youth volunteer groups, a task force will decide the quantum of financial assistance from the fund deemed appropriate for every approved application. To spur the flow of information, not only with regard to volunteerism among the youth, the government will set up the 1Malaysia for Youth radio station. Aimed at showcasing the hopes, efforts and achievements of young Malaysians, it will be the voice of the nation's future. It is safe to assume that if that which is voiced is constructive, then there is little to fear for the future.
It is in determining the shape of the future that the community spirit fostered by the im4u concept will play an important role. While everything is being done to breed a new generation of entrepreneurs which will keep economic ambitions burning, there is also a need for personal and social incentives to maintain humanitarian principles in the face of capitalist development. Growing the economy through private sector competition, while proving to be the most efficient way of wealth creation, brings with it the risk of increasing inequalities between social classes. To paraphrase the classical economist Adam Smith: while the "invisible hand" keeps the economic heart throbbing, the intervention of the human heart must ensure social justice. Unfortunately, individualism and the language of its rights have not always been manifested to the greater good of society. Volunteers who would give of themselves to keep the scale of social justice balanced are the salt of the earth. Kudos to im4u for encouraging them.