KUALA LUMPUR: Hannah Yeoh has urged youths to be champions of societal change through creative thinking in tackling social issues.
The Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister said it was important for young people to identify a cause that is close to their hearts, as results cannot be seen within one or two years.
In relating to her journey as a politician, Yeoh said she only managed to be placed in the federal government at the age of 40, despite starting when she was 29-years-old in 2008.
"Maybe it will take up another 15 years of your life. That is how long it is going to consume your life.
"So, it is better to make sure that it is a cause that you feel passionate about, so that even if it does not yield the results that you want, you don't walk away feeling disappointed as though you have wasted your life.
"If it is a cause you champion, you walk away feeling at least you have used your life to pursue your passion," she said during the launch of the Asia Regional Youth Festival 2019, organised by Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (Arrow), a regional non-profit women's organisation, on Thursday (Sept 12).
The festival aims to equip young people in the Asia Pacific region to advocate for the implementation of the Agenda 2030, in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The three day festival from September 11 to 13, is attended by young people from 14 countries, including Malaysia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and China.
Yeoh also called on youths to be creative and innovative in tackling causes that they want to champion.
She noted that some of the ways that the Ministry has worked on to reach youths in relation to tackling teenage pregnancy and baby dumping are by partnering with the private sector, such as a highway concessionaire and a cinema chain.
Yeoh said some of the ways included sticking anti-baby dumping stickers behind public toilet doors and advertising a 30-second commercial on the issue at cinemas.
Also, in attendance at the launch was Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching and Arrow executive director T. Sivananthi.
Teo said Malaysia was committed to realising the targets of Agenda 2030.
She said Malaysia's National SDG Council, chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is working in planning and monitoring SDGs implementation.
"We have made progress towards Agenda 2030. Our people have always been at the centre of all development and the government does its best to ensure that no Malaysian is left behind in meaningful participation and from benefiting in the country's development," she said.