KUALA LUMPUR: An amendment to the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act (Amendment) 2019 (Act 668) was passed by the Dewan Rakyat today after almost five hours of debate by 17 members of parliament.
The amendment was tabled by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman this morning.
It changed the definition of “youth” by lowering the age from 40 to 30, and for it to be spelt out in the Malaysian Youth Policy.
Previously, “youth” was defined as a person between the ages of 15 and 40.
Syed Saddiq said the reason for the amendment was to reduce the generation gap, accelerate youth maturity, and reduce risk behaviour in youth groups.
In addition, the age of youth society office bearers would also be reduced to a maximum of 30, and they must also be under the age of 30 when appointed.
“At the moment, youth organisations are seen as being idle and are not able to serve as an important medium in communicating with the youth.
“This is due to two factors. Firstly is the failure to adapt the changing lifestyle and mindset of the youths.
“The second is the lack of future leaders to replace existing ones,” he said.
Earlier, Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) had suggested that the age limit be increased to 35 due to concerns that those below the age of 30 were not fully mature yet.
“Also, why was this not discussed further with the Malaysian Youth Council (MBM)?,” he asked.
In a statement today, MBM, along with eight other youth groups, expressed shock and disappointment over the amendment, saying that the move was not practical for the development of youths.