KOTA KINABALU: Youth development remains a priority of the state government as reflected by the RM16.89mil allocation in next year's state Budget, says Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
The Chief Minister said the amount was slightly higher than this year's Budget, which saw RM16.42mil being set aside to implement the Youth Leadership Development Programme covering voluntarism and social unity activities.
"The higher allocation for next year clearly shows the state government's commitment to develop Sabah youths as future leaders," he said at the inaugural state-level Sabah Youth Carnival 2023 at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here Saturday (Dec 2).
Hajiji said the state would continue to implement various programmes including leadership, skill and entrepreneurial activities to empower youths in line with the Sabah Youth Policy in 2024.
He said last year, the state government had allocated RM10mil to introduce a new initiative, the Sabah Youth Entrepreneurs Success Scheme (Syabas), as youths were assets and must be given opportunities in the state's economic development.
Syabas was an initiative to assist youth entrepreneurs in starting and recovering their businesses from the impact of Covid-19.
As of October this year, a total of 2,655 youths had received RM2,000 each and another 238 were given RM5,000 each from the scheme, said Hajiji.
Besides focusing on the main sectors under the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya plan to stimulate growth and economic recovery, emphasis was also given to the second thrust of the plan, which was human capital development and people's well-being, he said.
"We also allocated RM44mil through 10 initiatives to assist youths pursuing tertiary education at private and public higher learning institutions," he pointed out.
"We hope that the target of ensuring youths improve their potential and could compete at the global level, attain better education that opens up bigger opportunities for them and be more resilient to challenges as well as to be more creative to carve new opportunities can be achieved," Hajiji said.
He said youth development would always be relevant in line with the Sabah Maju Jaya slogan as it encompassed the spirit and aspiration to develop Sabah and bring glory to the state.
"It also reflects our desire to move forward in various fields such as economy, education, cultural and social, especially among the youths," he said.
He said the Sabah Youth Carnival was one of the significant programmes in appreciation of the youths' role in the state's development, adding that it was a platform to foster the leadership spirit among the younger generation.
Hajiji assured that the state government would look into the Sabah Youth Council's request for assistance to organise the youth roadshow programme for 2024, if it is not already considered for allocation next year.