The Radicals: (L-R) Timothy Chan, Mark Ergus Nicholl and Low Zhe Ning

Youth of Malaysia share winning idea for an inclusive future
UNDP Malaysia NHDR Challenge provides platform for young people to be part of the solution

“We hope this idea will help the target group attain higher education. With higher education, you can get a better job, more opportunities and experiences. With higher education, wages increase and unemployment decreases. It gives this target group a bigger chance to break into the middle class and to escape poverty,” explained Nicholl.

Low stated, “There’s a high incidence of poverty especially among the non-Malay Bumiputeras. They are the group with the highest incidence of poverty compared to everyone else in the country. Poverty leads to low levels of education, which in turn limits your career prospects. Once you have limited career prospects, social upward mobility is stymied.”

Chan added that a pilot test could be carried out for two years with a class of students to see if their performance improved. “A small thing like the abacus can lead to improvement. When students improve, that could lead to a brighter future because students can get into tertiary education more easily.”

The judges – Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Kamal Salih, Dr. Lee Hwok Aun and Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid – liked the idea because they felt it was original, simple to implement, and realistic.

Said Tan Sri, “It was a joy for me to be among such fresh and bright young minds. There’s lots of hope for this country if such young, educated people do not fall into premature cynicism about the future of this beloved nation of ours.”

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It is essential that Malaysia continues to prioritise inclusive growth and social cohesion, and moves forward with the second generation policies that are needed to support this.
-Frances Stewart