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Sunday, 19 August 2007 11:04

Empowering Our Youth - Roadmap for Leadership

It is important for the Malays in the UK to contribute to society. Other ethnic minorities such as the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities have visible contribution e.g. the building of mosques, providing halal food outlets etc. The Malay community is comparatively a very small community and will remain small for the foreseeable future. The Malays cannot have the same impact as the Pakistanis or Bangladeshi by opening mosques or halal food outlets simply because of our small number. If the Malays excel in leadership, then our presence will be noticed and appreciated.

Melayu UK is a good platform for our youth to exercise their skills in leadership. Over the past 5 years since the establishment of Melayu UK, our activities have been attended not just by Malays but also by non-Malays of various background and ethnic groups , and also not to forget the local British. For the second and third generation Malays who were born and bred in this country, it has become natural for them to get along well with the local British regardless of their racial or ethnic background. In fact most feel more comfortable mixing around with local non-Malays than with Malay students who study in the UK. This is obviously not a healthy development and is currently being addressed with the increasing number of Malay students from the Malay world e.g Malaysia getting involved in Melayu UK activities.

The second and third generation Malays have now out-numbered the first generation Malays. The time is now right to start the process of transition of leadership of Melayu UK from the first generation to those born and bred in this country.

In order to get the second and third generation Malays more involved in Melayu UK, we have set up a Melayu UK Youth section. The target group is from 14 to 25 years old. This means that we are targeting members from high school, colleges, universities and those who are working. This will enable them to have a role and continuity in Melayu UK from a very young age.

We plan to have a smooth transition from Youth Section to Melayu UK main body. Youths who have left colleges will have dual-membership status i.e. youth section and the main body. This also means that they can hold posts in both Melayu UK Youth as well as in Melayu UK proper.

We have seen that in the first 5 years of Melayu UK, the leadership were held by first generation Malays. Most of the work done in the first 5 years were building the infrastructure for the next generations. The next 5 years will be a transition period where the leadership will be a mixture of first generation and those born in this country. We hope that the transition will be smooth and in 5 years time, Melayu UK will be led by those born and bred in this country.

Leadership will be meaningless if no new ideas come out from the leaders. Leaders who just follow what other have done are not true leaders but are just mere followers. As such we will encourage our youth to be more involved in intellectual discourse where they will be able to throw out new ideas. Melayu UK will put extra effort to make this a reality.

Hamidi Abdul Rahman