The Y Factor: How Youth are Impacting Business and Politics in Malaysia

Mr Eddin Khoo, Founder-Director, PUSAKA


  • Oh Ei Sun, Principal Advisor, Pacific Research Center of Malaysia
  • Miss Qyira Yusri, Co-Founder & Education Director, UNDI18, Persatuan Pengundi Muda
  • Arif Tukiman, Founder and CEO, RunCloud

What does it mean to be a youth in today’s day and age in Malaysia?

When asked how Malaysian youth are perceived by the older generation, Ms Qyira Yusri of Persatuan Pengundi Muda, said people often mistakenly assume that young people are a monolithic group with the same preferences and political inclinations but young people are as diverse as any other age group. She firmly believes that much like any other age group, youth members are shaped and influenced by their environment. A youth in Kuala Lumpur would not have the same outlook on life as those in East Malaysia. She is also of the opinion that young Malaysians have a lot to offer in business and politics but have not been given sufficient space nor the right platform.

Mr Arif Tukiman pointed out that the use of technology has affected how the youth think. He admitted that it makes them vulnerable to negative influence. He said that while it is great that the youth are learning to think for themselves, they must also learn from others in order for them to put their own DNA into a ‘battlefield’ full of more experienced players.

Dr. Oh Ei Sun stated that with the increase in political literacy and involvement, fresh ideas are being introduced into existing political parties, and are even creating new ones. Young Malaysians know what kind of governance and leadership they want to see in political parties and companies, and many are not afraid to voice their opinions, or call out impropriety. In this way, both Dr Ei Sun and Ms Qyira believe that political parties and businesses will have to change to remain relevant.

“The mistake that people often make is that people assume the young people or youth is a monolithic group in our society’s demography”- Ms Qyira Yusri

“There’s a lot of information that can have a negative impact on the youth as well as change the way they think about the future, themselves, and their career path.”- Mr Arif Tukiman

“What the youth are doing is basically shattering the old conventional networks of the politics of cabal and the politics of patronage.”- Dr Oh Ei Sun

“We don’t know how impactful the pandemic has been and what it will require in terms of resources, imagination, and real resilience to meet the demands.” – Mr Eddin Khoo