Education
Housing
Healthcare
Environment
Law & Order
Representation
Wealth Distribution
Employment

Education

Youths are showing concern about the falling standards and quality of education. Even though most youths are happy with the time spent on subjects such as English, Mathematics and History, only a minority of youths feel satisfied with the current Malaysian education system. Schools have been opened and shut repeatedly throughout the pandemic. Online learning has resulted in underprivileged students falling behind in their studies because they lack or do not have access to internet or data services. Students in rural areas will likely miss out on education and have a lower chance of succeeding in exams or getting scholarships. Also, Form 5 students have faced frequent delays in their SPM examinations. This has made preparations tougher and increased their anxiety due to exam pressure.
Some youths also believe that schools are not always a safe place for students. Matters such as discrimination and harassment continue in our local schools. Youths are concerned that schools do not always take reports seriously enough and are not protective enough of their students’ wellbeing. Education has always been a huge issue in Malaysia and will likely continue to be in the upcoming elections.
Youth are split on the national education system - while 38% felt neutral, 27% felt it was satisfactory while 35% were unsatisfied
While most youth felt the education system had it right in allocating time for different subjects, Bumiputeras wanted more time spent on Bahasa Melayu while non-Bumiputeras wanted more time spent on English.

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Housing

The housing market in Malaysia is increasingly expensive. Buying property is among the most important concerns for youths as they enter adulthood or start a family. According to the Malaysian House Price Index, the average property price in Malaysia has nearly doubled since 2010. The government does have policies to provide more affordable housing options through government-supplied housing. However, the private housing market remains costly for youths. Rental fees are also very high especially in urban areas.
Youths generally rent instead of purchasing property due to their lower incomes. Among the many reasons rental charges may be high is because in some cases, properties are bought as investments and not as just places to stay. More than 50% of youths believe that rental charges should have a limit or that the government should create more affordable housing. Many youths are doubtful they could even purchase a house in their lifetime because of the worsening trend in the housing market. The effects are worsened due to the pandemic as income has reduced. However, effective and stricter housing policies can reverse this trend so that the youth of today can find more affordable options to own property in the future.
59%
Of youth are afraid they will not be able to purchase a home in their lifetime.
90%
Of youth want the government to develop more affordable home
75%
Of youth want to set celling price a landlord can set the price of rent

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Healthcare

The current pandemic has raised concerns about the Malaysian healthcare system among youths. Youths are generally satisfied with the current healthcare system but believe a greater budget is needed. While Malaysians have received rapid vaccinations, many COVID-19 patients were turned away from receiving necessary care in hospitals as wards were overwhelmed very quickly. Youths want to see better funding in our public healthcare system to avoid overburdening our healthcare system.
Furthermore, a large number of youths think that the government should increase resources for mental health services. The fear of getting COVID-19 and the loss of loved ones have increased cases of depression, anxiety and stress among the general public. Provisions of mental healthcare currently face a shortage of mental health professionals and an unequal distribution of access to mental health services, especially in rural areas. As the youths of today are faced with newer and tougher challenges in life, mental health is taken extremely seriously by youths.
43%
of youth are satisfied with the government’s healthcare system.
85%
of youth want the government to increase its budget on the public healthcare system.
86%
of youth want the government to increase resources for mental health services.

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Environment

An overwhelming majority of youths are worried about climate change in Malaysia. This is because climate change is an issue that will continue to get worse in the future. The youths of today will suffer the effects of climate change much worse than previous generations. In fact, some effects of climate change can already be seen. For instance, the recent floods in Selangor and Terengganu show how unprepared we are in responding and bringing people to safety. These events have shown how the livelihoods of people can be destroyed through environmental disasters. Children are especially vulnerable in climate disasters but are rarely highlighted in climate policies.
Many youths feel that punishments for illegal logging should be more strict and infrastructure development should decrease to protect the environment. Youths recognise that environmental justice is also social justice. With activities such as deforestation, rapid urbanisation or increasing population, youth are developing more awareness towards the environment. Environmental concerns will most likely be an issue that youths want political candidates to prioritise more in the future.
75%
of youth are concerned about climate change in Malaysia
85%
of youth want the government to enforce greater punishment on illegal logging
66%
of youth want the government to decrease infrastructure development to protect the environment

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Law & Order

Youths have differing views about issues related to law and order. For example, some agree that the government should abolish the death penalty, while some disagree. The same can be seen for issues such as reducing the punishment for drug possession or free speech. Some youths believe offensive speech and insults towards the monarchy should be punished. On the other hand, some youths believe that those who make such statements should not be punished. This shows that youths have different opinions about what is right and wrong in the law and order of Malaysia.
It is worth noting that many youths are also unsure about their stance towards these issues. They are neutral about whether the death penalty should be abolished or whether free speech should have restrictions. Much of youth political engagement these days is on social media. Youths use these platforms to have discourse on important matters affecting the country. As social media is an open platform, it has likely changed how youths perceive free speech. Although free speech on social media may be regarded as unrestricted, free speech is subject to conditions under the law. Given how contentious free speech is in Malaysia especially with the rise of online platforms, the debate of what constitutes free or hate speech will most likely continue. Whichever view youths take, it shows that they want Malaysia to be a country that provides justice to its citizens.
34% of youth are neutral about abolishing the death penalty, while 33% agree and 28% disagree
57%
of youth do not want the government to decrease the punishment for drug possession
59% of youth are afraid they will get in trouble for things they write or post online. At the same time, 51% of youth want the government to punish offensive speech online and 45% of youth want insults against the monarchy punished.

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Representation

Malaysian politics has always been dominated by males of majority races. The participation of minorities in politics is still low. For instance, women barely make up 30% of political appointments even though women make up half of Malaysia’s citizens. Even youth membership in Parliament is low as 70% of Malaysian lawmakers are over 70 years old. However, youths are generally satisfied with racial representation in politics.
Malaysia’s strength comes from its diversity. Many women leaders around the world have shown exceptional capability in politics. Even the youth demographic have played huge roles in promoting change. In the last year, youths began the #Lawan movement and were integral in pushing for political reforms amidst the pandemic. As of 2021, 7.8 million youth voters were added to the electoral roll, which means that youths will have a stronger say in the government of the day. A wider representation in politics would likely lead to more equitable policies for all portions of Malaysia’s diverse society.
50%
of youth think there are not enough women in politics
63%
of youth think there are not enough youth in politics
Malay youth felt there were just enough racial minorities in politics, but Chinese, Indian and other Bumiputera youth felt there were too few.

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Wealth Distribution

Wealth distribution in Malaysia is greatly divided with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Socioeconomic injustices have long existed in Malaysia as wealth in the country is concentrated among certain ethnicities. In 1971, the New Economic Policy (NEP) was implemented. Its main strategy was to undertake affirmative action to help Bumiputera individuals acquire opportunities for education and jobs so that wealth distribution in the country would be more equal. At the time, Bumiputera individuals were statistically more socioeconomically disadvantaged than their non-Bumiputera counterparts. While the NEP was introduced 51 years ago, wealth distribution in Malaysia remains unequal.
The youths of today are adamant about creating a society that has equal opportunities regardless of one’s identity. While youths understand the dangers of the abuse of affirmative action, they recognise the need to uplift communities that lack privilege in important aspects of livelihood. For instance, a majority of youths believe that Bumiputera individuals should be given preferential treatment in sectors such as college admissions, employment in the public sector, micro and small enterprise loans and even housing discounts. Youths wish to see such policies implemented effectively so that underprivileged communities are provided with the opportunities to increase their wealth for a better livelihood.
The majority of Malaysian youth agree that Bumiputeras should be given preferential treatment in various sectors at least sometimes.
However, Bumiputera youth were more likely to feel that Bumiputeras should always be provided preferential treatment, while Chinese youth felt it should only be provided sometimes and Indian youth never.

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Employment

Plenty of youths currently face unemployment. This is especially true for fresh graduates due to a lack of job opportunities. Even though the government’s COVID-19 policies paid attention to job creation, with some programmes specifically targeted at fresh graduates and young workers, some of these programmes fell short from benefiting the targeted number of beneficiaries. Youths may also find it tougher to seek employment because employers are hiring fewer employees to cut costs during the pandemic. Unemployed youths also struggle with job stability as they begin their career with less credentials and are unable to compete with more experienced existing employees.
Furthermore, youths have also expressed concern about income paid by employers. A clear majority of youths believe that the minimum wage should be increased. The cost of living is rising due to inflation and youths need to be able to afford basic necessities for their livelihood if they want to at least live a modest or comfortable life. Furthermore, almost 90% of youths agree that protection should not just be given to regular employees but also to those who are self-employed or gig workers. Thus, employment and job security will likely be a big factor for youth in the upcoming elections.
52%
of youth are afraid they will not be able to find employment in the future
87%
of youth want the government to raise the minimum wage above RM1,200
88%
of youth want the government to extend employment protections to gig workers including e-hailing drivers and delivery workers

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