The former international trade and industry minister claimed that this anti-establishment culture among the young could be detrimental to society, especially if Malaysia wanted to achieve developed-nation status “in its own mould”.
“Unless these people take stock of their own emotions, ambitions; take stock of what is good for the community or the country, they will be creating problems for their own futures. They are creating factions in this already heterogeneous society.
“This rebellious streak will only create hot pockets among the young and this is not good. That is the one unfortunate element of this era — the young are too impatient, they think they are the panacea for everything,” she pointed out.
The Kuala Kangsar MP added that youths and the younger generation of politicians were often on “ego-trips”, thinking that their methods and assertions were the “cure-all” for the ills of society.
“They have forgotten that they come from an era that was created for them by their forefathers... without them, they would not have reached to where they are.
“When I became a politician, I never dared to speak out against my seniors... I was in awe of them and I wanted to learn from them,” she said.
Rafidah pointed out that Vision 2020 was achievable without the spread of such rebellion, for enshrined in a proviso of the initiative was to reach developed nation status in “Malaysia’s own mould”.
“This mould is about courtesy and respect for others. It is about understanding the fine threads that keep us together in this web of society and knowing that we cannot simply bulldoze our ways through to get what we want,” she said.
Without being specific, Rafidah said the youth needed to “calm down” and to focus their strengths on preparing themselves to take over the country instead of on how to bring the present administration down.
“Get yourself ready to take over. You are not ready to take over the country if you are planning to do it by force or by toppling others or by highlighting how bad the others are.
“You are ready when you have the maturity and the strength to face challenges. A leader is not judged by the crowds he can muster but on how much the people can respect what he or she says,” she said.
Rafidah also said that the Malaysian “mould” also encompassed the importance of understanding that democracy did not mean citizens could forget about the country’s laws.
“We must not go the way of other developed nations. This seeking of transparency and the application of democracy envisaged by others does not apply to us.
“Democracy does not mean you can do whatever you want. Some say that it means I could go ahead and curse your mother if I wanted to but this is wrong,” she said.
According to Rafidah, the perception of the young, however, was that total democracy meant they had the right to protest against anything to get their way.
“We must not go that way. We must have a guided democracy. We are multiracial so if we invoke our right to criticise the religions and beliefs of others, we will go up in flames.
“The young must think for themselves... do they want to just inherit ashes? If they are too busy organising strikes and demonstrations, then who will finally be ready to govern the country?” she said.
Rafidah slammed groups that fought for a single, selfish agenda which she said could cause problems within society in terms of disparity.
“When we were young, we wanted to shout out loud, too. But we knew our limits. I am aggressive, too, but I channel my aggression positively towards getting things done for the country.
“Groups, whether political or non-political, who just want it their way are very selfish,” she said.
Rafidah asserted that achieving Vision 2020 was not merely banking on the country’s ability to achieve seven per cent in growth annually but also to achieve stability in all aspects.
“Barring any global economic calamities or regional ones, and if things are falling into place now, meaning the global economic community and the financial community are beginning to regulate markets and if we are strong in terms of transparency and economic governance, I see no reason why we cannot achieve this vision.
“However, we must also remember that again, we must do it in Malaysia’s mould. We must not forget our identity,” she said.
- Extracted from an exclusive interview with The Malaysian Insider