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Thursday September 22, 2011

Empowering young citizens

UNDIMSIA! is off to a rolling start after a successful fundraising dinner and launch. It has drawn many young Malaysians to the movement that emphasises citizen empowerment while promoting their greater participation in the country’s democratic process.

With the aim of empowering young citizens between 18 and 35 years old, this non-partisan movement’s objective is to build, mobilise, organise and support this group to take impactful actions with tangible results within their communities.

“We are here to provide tools and workable solutions to problems that matter to this group and their communities. We want to promote greater participation among them in decisions affecting them and assist them to ask the right questions while making informed choices when they vote,” spokesperson of UndiMsia! Zain HD said.

Going up: One of the UndiMsia! Facebook election candidates Fuad Alhabshi (left) singing his thoughts on “Cost of Living” with his Kyoto Protocol band members.

Edmund Bon of LoyarBurok.com outlined the UndiMsia! D-I-Y Toolkit containing four aspects of the movement’s operation.

Information — Supporting the need for accurate user-friendly information on key civil, political and socio-economic rights that affect young Malaysians’ life and disseminating the information through infographics, videos and gameshops.

Process — Facilitating young Malaysians in their engagement with elected representatives (and community leaders) on ways to identify issues in election campaigns and vote base on those issues, ensuring that elected representatives give young Malaysians and their communities what they are owed and promised during such campaigns and address representation shortcomings.

Action — Organising and mobilising young Malaysians to take action as they deem fit through the development of Youth Action Groups in their communities.

Platform — Providing the platform that co-opts the support and involvement of other education-based civil-society organisations or initiatives to complement and complete a menu of user-friendly information available for dissemination to all Malaysians.

Young movement: Miss Malaysia 2010 Nadia Heng reading out excerpts from Tun Abdul Razak’s speech on the formation of Malaysia from 1963 while emcee of the UndiMsia! fundraising and launch event Shelah (left) looks on.

Bon added that UndiMsia! was focusing on three areas — socio-economic rights (food and housing), civil and political rights (freedom of expression) and the budget in respect of education.

UndiMsia! ‘speaks’ the language of the younger generation by moving online via its Facebook and Twitter account and on the ground.

Its launch event held at Leornardo’s along Jalan Bangkung during the Malaysiaku Street Festival was themed “Imagining a Taster Democracy” and gave many a glimpse of the strong voice the new generation of Malaysians had on issues close to their hearts including equality, cost of living, public transport, freedom of access to the Internet and more.

Currently, the movement community has a strength of about 500 members from different backgrounds.

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