J.D. LOVRENCIEAR of Semenyih writes:
THE Deputy Prime Minster's call to our 10 million youths to develop a culture of excellence is not only timely but crucial for the future of Malaysia.
It should be noted that 20 years ago youths did not need to be motivated. The determination to lead a better life and a keen sense of self worth and values drove us to scale against the many odds in the 60s and 70s.
The nation's success is due to the hard work and efforts of Malaysians in the past.
Unfortunately, despite all the growth and development in the last 20 years, we now have in our midst some 10 million young people who are lacking in values.
Although a host of changes have been introduced by various ministries and government agencies, the malaise continues unabated.
Hopefully Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein's move to prepare our youth to do national service and have a curriculum that will be social service-oriented will help address this issue.
Perhaps it is also about time that parents played an integral role by ensuring that they stop chasing the ringgit at the expense of inculcating strong values in their children.
Maybe it is time that the Government considered compelling parents of wayward and uninspired youths to also attend parenting camps or workshops.
The millions of youths who are found wasting their time at the shopping malls and racing their motorcycles should be required to attend compulsory community service over consecutive weekends.
Politicians and community leaders, too, have roles to play.
They must rise to the occasion by ensuring that leadership by example is not forsaken.
Our youths need role models which unfortunately are truly lacking these days, going by media reports.
If half of the 10 million youths can excel, we would have in place the vital push for a quantum leap for Malaysia in the next 20 years.
As such, it is also about time that our youths are subjected to mastering public speaking, self-confidence and self-image management skills.
Mere emphasis on conforming to religious teachings and rituals alone will not get us very far.
Any failure to neglect our large youth population and the host of social problems associated with youths will cause the country to stagnate.
Let us hope that we do not stop at mere lip service in tackling such problems.
Let us also hope that action taken to address the youth's needs will not take ages to materialise.
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