IPOH, Aug 20 — Young people should not view the voting age of 18 as just a right, but should instead interpret it as an opportunity that gives young people more power in moulding the country’s leadership and voting the government,
The Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah, said choosing the government was a serious matter as the fate of the people and the country depended on those who were empowered to form the government.
“The judgment should be based on rational thinking and facts, rather than sentiment and emotion,” he said at the 48th Convocation Ceremony of the Ungku Omar Polytechnic here today.
A total of 2,270 graduates will receive certificates, diplomas and degrees during the three-day convocation ceremony from today.
With the passing of amendments to the Federal Constitution by the Dewan Rakyat on July 16, and Dewan Negara on July 25, those aged 18 and above, are automatically allowed to vote.
Sultan Nazrin added that young people needed to be guided in understanding the meaning and practices of democracy, the system of government, the administrative system, the process of forming a government and characteristics that leaders must possess.
“Young people need to be guided on the right moral values in accordance with the law, to have a maturity to judge between the good and unrighteous, to discern between facts and slander,” he added.
He said that they should also be given adequate exposure and knowledge on nationality and civics, adding that their personality and identity should be nurtured and integrated into the national education content.
On the definition of youth from the age of 15 to 30, Sultan Nazrin said it was a move to give more confidence to young people to take on leadership responsibilities.
The Perak Sultan said the amendments to the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act 2007, could be interpreted as a platform to assist in bringing in young people, to enhance and expand youth involvement in the decision-making process and in voicing their views.
“Young people should appreciate the trust that the country has given them by being responsible and mature,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin said after 62 years of independence, the people should never allow the nation’s unity to be “hijacked” by any party for their short-term political goals.
He said the future of the people and the country should not be handed over to a group of racist and religious extremists.
The Ruler also expressed his appreciation to the parties involved for their commitment in bringing the 50-year-old polytechnic to its current success.
To the graduands, he said: “Whatever the choices, you are a vital asset of the country and being (aged) under 30, you will be directly involved in contributing to the country’s economic growth and will play an important role in the affairs of the country.
“Based on the dynamics taking place today, you will all play a more significant role in shaping the political landscape of the country,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin in congratulating the graduands, advised them not to forget the services of their teachers, parents and family members for their success.