Bright prospects for youths

  • Letters
  • Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020

LAST July, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) released a paper titled “Asia’s future is now”, which posited that this continent is on track to achieve the top 50% of global GDP by 2040 and drive 40% of the world’s consumption.

This presents limitless opportunity for our youths – our leaders of tomorrow – to drive societal or economic change, as our region steps onto the global map. We no longer need to look elsewhere to be impactors but can influence change right from where we are.

With Malaysia moving towards a knowledge-based economy, the sky is the limit for those aged between 24 and 35, as the conditions are ripe for them to succeed.

Youths in Malaysia have a lot to be proud of; they have broken barriers and used technology to impact change in their respective communities. For example, Umar Wafi Zulkafri from Klang developed the Anti-Bully Notification System to stop bullying in his sister’s primary school after she was subjected to it almost every day. Mohd Saifullah Halim from Kedah started a pesticide business using agriculture drones during the movement control order, which helped padi farmers meet their business needs while under lockdown. William Koong and his army of volunteers stepped up to provide personal protective equipment to hospitals across Klang Valley with the aid of 3D printers, as did volunteers from the Biji-biji Group.

These are just a few accounts of the many inspiring youths who are breaking norms in Malaysia to impact their communities. I’m sure the generations to come will be innovators, too, and I hope parents will encourage their children to reach for the stars.

There will be avenues for them to shine as innovation will be a key component of national efforts to drive change. With the rolling out of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) last month, innovators will be empowered with the know-how to validate their products, obtain funding, and gain procurement access and regulatory clarity, among others.

The 2018 GE Global Innovation Barometer showed that despite facing significant and complex challenges, business leaders in Malaysia were feeling more confident when it came to driving growth through innovation. The Barometer highlighted new innovation champions on the horizon, as Asia and emerging markets are perceived to be more innovative now compared to previous years and the United States and Germany are losing their status as innovation champions.

Recognising the significance of innovation in the development of the economy, the Malaysian Academy of Sciences is working hand in hand with Mosti to build a conducive innovation ecosystem through the 10-10 STIE Framework, which was developed using the Appleton model of fusing the 10 identified technologies with 10 identified economic sectors to empower economic growth in countries in the tropics like Malaysia.

We hope that with this ecosystem, our youths will have more opportunities to showcase their creativity and innovative spirit, and address our nation’s research and development capability on issues related to the tropics.

Asia is the way forward and our youths will be able to shine as bright as the stars in our tropical skies with the opportunities that await them.

With this forward-thinking national agenda, our youths will be able to help steward Malaysia’s growth in this new era as well as create innovative solutions to situations or issues that are unique to countries in the tropics.

To our youths, happy International Youth Day (Aug 12)! Our country is better because you are here.

HAZAMI HABIB , Chief executive officer Academy of Sciences Malaysia

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