The groups expressed shock and disappointment over the proposed amendment to age 30 and under.
They said Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman had previously agreed to redefine youths as those aged 15 to 35.
"The more acceptable solution of 15 to 35 years was touted by MYC and, earlier, agreed to by the minister himself during his National Youth Day 2019 speech (in May) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,” Malaysian Youth Council president Jufitri Joha said in a statement on Wednesday (July 3).
Jufitri said implementing the age limit of 15 to 35 would allow the leadership in relevant organisations to voluntarily and smoothly transition to those aged 30 and below.
He said several youth groups are ready to make way for those under 30 to lead the organisations.
"It is more effective and harmonious if the leadership transition is done smoothly rather than forced by law," he said.
“This would ensure leadership transition for youth groups are carried out smoothly and voluntarily, instead of youth organisations dying due to leadership and management issues," he added.
Jufitri said they would submit a memorandum to the ministry on this matter at Parliament.
In a joint statement, a group of eight Chinese youth groups said that the lowering the youth age to between 18 to 30 years was too drastic in the proposed amendment to the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act 2007.
"The eight major Chinese Youth Organisations (EMCO) regret the proposed amendment tabled by the Youth and Sports Ministry.
"The amendment was tabled without agreement from the national youth groups, nor MYC, which will be the most directly affected by the amendment on the youth age.
They said the drastic reduction in age could lead to a reduction and dissolution of grassroots youth groups. This, in turn, could affect positive youth development and prevent them from being involved in the social ills, they added.
The eight organisations are the Buddhist Youth Association, the Youth Movements of Malaysia, Gerakan Belia Bersatu Malaysia, Belia Xiang Lian, Young Graduates assocation, Christian Youth Association, Persatudan Usahawan Maju Malaysia, and Mandarin Junior Chamber International Kuala Lumpur.
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