Youths and politics by Mamat Jasseh

As a young person, I share many of the frustrations that the youth have in our societies today. As a matter of fact, things are going downhill right now.

To begin with, in a time where we are struggling with youth representation, as a specific age that we should be, to be in politics or even be a leader in politics. Beyond reproach, my actual age perfectly puts me in a good place to talk about this matter; youth & politics.

There’s this proverb:

“ *Youth get together with their materials to build a bridge to the moon or maybe a palace on earth.*"

It means nothing is impossible when youth decide to move together and make a change.

Yet, political leaders continually deem youth engagement in politics as a means to get more votes, get more voting volunteers and effectively win more seats during elections and I think we need to stop talking about what young people can do for political parties and start thinking about what political parties can do for young people.

It’s undoubtedly clear that, politics isn’t just about voting. It’s how we engage in other institutions as well.

However, young people have experienced different forms of misfortunes due to the under representation of the youth in parliament.

I saw young people running through deserts and sailing across seas in search of greener pastures, daily life becoming pretty impossible to run for themselves. Yet, our political leaders give no bankroll to support them.

I saw students studying abroad demonstrating against the unbalanced distribution of funds coupled with the spreading of false information on behalf of students by our political leaders.

I then see, young people using social media to sign and share petitions, commenting and debating their political persuasion. Still, our political leaders seem not to treasure and empower their voices.

Over and above, I saw young people going out to volunteer in their community at unprecedented levels. Also, establishing the youth associations that represent young voices as an alternative, just to feel that they belong together.

Subsequently, our generation is manifestly losing faith in politics due trails of broken promises that have being created by our political leaders. Enacting policies that impact our lives, whether it's from education, employment or security.

To tell the truth, the current political situation is quite uninspiring. It’s indirectly teaching everyone to have different notions of right and wrong and different definitions of what constitute transgressions.

It was made clear to me the important of youth engagement when I was elected to participate in a model united nations. At the time, I was able to work with talented young people from different parts of the world. We had training schemes that helped build our speaking, writing, and leadership skills, in addition to critical thinking and teamwork.

Unanticipatedly, the superintendents as well as the general members were all under 30. We used evidence based policies from various countries to discuss, debate, and vote on. It basically allowed us to develop deeper understanding into current world issues and also gave us the opportunity to prove what we can do in politics.

Young people have always been driving change regardless of their age. We all know that diversity is important in politics, and on top of that, we are further alienated from the real political process.

Honestly, politics isn’t the most exciting thing, but political leaders could help change this narrative by making it more engaging. They need to ensure that they build inspiration, encourage enthusiasm, acknowledge what young people can do and create a stronger democratic system that will prove that, the opportunities in politics isn’t just for the older generation.

Thank you!

_Mamat Ibn Ibrahim Jasseh_

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