KUALA LUMPUR: Winning the hearts and minds of the youth is the Government's biggest challenge, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
He said the youth are the most vulnerable to the calls of radical groups, citing examples of those who had been radicalised due to poverty and depression.
"The world that we live in today is borderless and we live in a global village where unfiltered information can get to us even in our homes.
"Aside from bombing and killing the (Islamic State) leaders, it's especially important to win the hearts and minds of our youth," said Hishammuddin during a question and answer session at the Kuala Lumpur International Youth Discourse 2017 at Putra World Trade Centre here Sunday.
He said it was something that needed to be done gradually, and it was the Government's focus to win these youngsters over.
Hishammuddin reminded the youth that the job of leading and keeping the peace in the country will not be an easy one.
"Being leaders of tomorrow is not going to be easy because the world is so complex today.
"The most difficult task would be to build bridges in a world filled with suspicion. That's the world that you will lead in the future," he said.
He also shared his experience as the Acting Transport Minister at the height of the MH370 crisis.
For a small country like Malaysia to be placed in an unprecedented situation where the search areas kept changing and the press kept hounding him for answers, Hishammuddin shared how he kept his composure.
"At 5.30pm everyday, I had to face hundreds of members of the media during the height of the crisis.
"Diplomats asked me how did I remain calm. It's because I have faith.
"Before standing at the podium, I would pray to not let anything that comes out of my mouth during those 40 minutes of press conference to embarrass the country," said Hishammuddin, who is also Special Functions Minister.
The criteria of a good leader includes having patience, knowing when you need to let things unfold and possessing the courage to make bold decisions, he said.
Earlier, he delivered a keynote address on conflict and understanding security threats in the 21st century.
The event was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.