KUALA LUMPUR: Frequent engagements between policymakers and the people are needed for Malaysians, particularly Malay Muslim youths, to better grasp the meaning of living in Malaysia Baharu (New Malaysia), says Malaysia Youth Foundation director Mustaffa Kamil Ayub.
He said misperceptions could arise from the failure to properly explain certain issues, such as the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).
The government recently backpedalled on ratifying both treaties after pressure from Malay rights groups claiming they would threaten the special privileges of the Malays and Malay rulers.
"Quite a number of issues were not properly addressed, and there has been no effective mechanism to help people on the ground understand them well.
“This led to an information gap between the people and policymakers," he said.
Mustafa said having frequent engagements could allay concerns or fears some Malay Muslim youths might have in the new political landscape and could even lead to an exchange of ideas.
He added that some quarters were also wary of the Pakatan Harapan government which replaced Barisan Nasional after the 14th general election in May last year.
Malay leaders in government, for example, dwindled to about 30%, with about 70% now in the opposition.
According to Mustafa, this fear was further compounded by the notion that the new government was strongly supported by non-Malays.
"This has led some to perceive that new policies would be very much influenced by the non-Malays in the government.
"I understand that’s quite natural, but I believe the government wants to push an agenda for all Malaysians, regardless of race and based on needs, and this is where such engagements are crucial to drive home the message,” he said.
Mustafa made the remarks after a roundtable discussion to gather input and concerns from Malay youths ahead of the upcoming Himpunan Generasi Muda Melayu Muslim (HG3M) in August.
He said the HG3M would be one such platform that could bridge the gap between policymakers and the people in order to make Malaysia a more prosperous and dynamic country.