LETTERS:I Have been following developments regarding the new Mara direction, as announced by its chairman. While there has been some robust debate, it was dominated by the older generation.
People need to understand the essence of Mara. Clause 6 (1) of the Mara Act clearly states that it is the duty of Mara to promote, stimulate, facilitate and undertake economic and social development, particularly in the rural areas.
We need our elders in the Mara Council to perform their full responsibility. They must leave this country better for my generation.
They cannot allow us to continue struggling to find jobs or to pay student loans, grappling every day with the economic situation due to the selfish decisions made by them.
We are not lazy. We are not uneducated. We just lack opportunity.
The people leading Mara either do not understand the Mara Act, are incompetent or have been remiss in not looking at the problems and issues facing 50 per cent of the demographics.
The problems facing Gen Y are different.
One major issue for us is unemployment. There is a disconnect between learnt skill sets and employers’ expectations.
The model used by our predecessors exacerbated the classical education market, which drained talent from their hometowns and focused on the building of oligopolies and monopolies among the government-linked companies, multinational corporations and privately owned/dynastic businesses in the Klang Valley and Penang.
Youths who are gig workers have no clear strategy or security. This snowballs to economic stagnancy.
I am not sure whether the Mara Council even remembers that Mara used to build affordable housing for Malays when they say Mara should focus only on education.
Mara had one of the most successful housing programmes around that elevated the Malays’ socio-economic status. Mara sold houses priced at RM10,000 with a monthly payment of RM80 in the early days. Its cheapest house was RM2,400 with a monthly payment of RM16.
Imagine Mara continuing such people-oriented programmes. There is no doubt that Mara has been successful in the education porfolio in the past, thus the perception that the Mara brand is synonymous with education.
But once the Mara Act is understood, one can see that education is just one component of its full mandate of socio-economic development that creates high income and wealth, especially industry development, regional economic development and high-value job creation.
To achieve this, Mara needs to use its full powers, including education, investment, entrepreneurship, land matters, trade and distribution.
My generation will enter the job market or business space with a significant handicap in the form of network, capital and ecosystem if Mara refuses to build industries and create new economic opportunities.
Leaders at Mara can do the right thing by creating growth opportunities to unleash the next generation of Malaysians.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times