The Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) Malaysia has called for the setting up of an Asean Youth Council (AYC) to help shape the future of the region. (Pix by FARIZ ISWADI ISMAIL)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) Malaysia has called for the setting up of an Asean Youth Council (AYC) to help shape the future of the region.

Its chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Munir Majid said that Asean has a young population, with 60 per cent of its people under the age of 35 – but their involvement in policy-making decisions and on the future of the region has been limited.

He said the Asean-BAC had taken the initiative to establish the Asean Young Entrepreneurs Council (AYEC), which led to the founding of the Asean Young Entrepreneurs Association.

“However, there needs to be a more broad-based involvement of Asean youth than just in entrepreneurship, especially when it comes to the future shape, character and policies of the regional organisation,” he said at a press conference today.

In calling for Asean governments, especially Malaysia, to take up the proposal, Dr Mohd Munir said an AYC would enhance youths’ sense of ownership in Asean’s future, which belongs to them.

At the same time, he said there is need to draft an Asean Social and Education Policy to address the challenges of digitisation of the economy.

He said such a sweeping change would affect all economies, and not all the member states of Asean are prepared.

“The impact of robotisation, the Internet of Things, use of big data and so on is going to be tremendous on employment, education, training and retraining.

“The reliance on low-cost manufacturing for growing populations is increasingly becoming a story of the past, and the displacement of employment could become severe,” he said.

Dr Munir Majid added that individual state’s preparation for the future is not enough, as stresses and strains in the restructuring of economies will adversely affect Asean integration and cohesion.

He called on Asean countries which are ahead of the curve to lead the way in preparing for the digital economy by preparing the policy document which will map out the region’s future.

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