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PDS 23: “The Power of Youth: Building a Better Future in the Face of Economic and Environmental Challenges”

The Perdana Discourse Series 23 on “The Power of Youth: Building a Better Future in the Face of Economic and Environmental Challenges” that was held on 3rd December 2023 at the Perdana Leadership Foundation was a resounding success, igniting insightful conversations and inspiring reflections on the pivotal role of youth in shaping a sustainable future. More than two hundred and fifty participants attended the event including tertiary students, academicians, and members of the public.    

In the opening remarks, Mr Mahmood Razak Bahman, Alternate Trustee, Perdana Leadership Foundation and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), PUSPAKOM Sdn Bhd remarked that “As climate change and digital disruptions change the natural and business landscape of the world, what will the future be like for the young people who will inherit it, and – more importantly – how can youth play a role in shaping what happens today and tomorrow to ensure a better future?”. 

The keynote speaker, YBhg Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, introduced the concept of VODCA – Vulnerability, Obsolescence, Disruptive, Collapse, Anthropocene. This framework encapsulates the multifaceted changes that have emerged in the wake of global challenges. The first facet, Vulnerability, underscores the universal susceptibility to the repercussions of major upheavals such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Moving forward, the looming specter of Obsolescence prompts contemplation on the evolving nature of relevance, emphasising the imperatives of adaptability and continuous learning. The term Disruptive encapsulates the challenge of navigating an environment where traditional norms and frameworks may no longer suffice. Beyond the immediate context, the concept delves into the larger canvas of the Anthropocene era, marking a critical juncture where human actions significantly impact and alter the natural world. Within this narrative, the notion of a dehumanised world emerges, highlighting the paradoxical role of human beings in both contributing to and undermining their humanity. Tan Sri Dzulkifli’s sharp observations call for a deep understanding of these dynamics, especially on the part of youth, to foster resilience and navigate towards a more sustainable and harmonious future.

Following the keynote session, the discourse continued with a lively panel session. Ms Norhayati Jantan, Senior Director, National Account Statistic Division, Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), elaborated on key youth statistics and trends, especially in education and employment. Ms Nina Adlan Disney, Executive Director, LeapEd Services, pointed out how youth need to be empowered via a better education system that moves away from rote learning towards more interactivity. The final speaker, Mr Beh Zeng Kang, Environmentalist & the first Malaysian ASEAN Youth Champion shared his own experience as a youth environmentalist and the challenges he faced along the way. He encouraged young people to step out of their comfort zones and engage more with the community. The moderator, Dr Mohd Mursyid Arshad, Associate Professor, Department of Professional Development & Continuing Education (JPPPL), Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), artfully managed the session, including the Q and A with the audience where the panellists were asked on education policies, youth employment prospects and entrepreneurship, as well as leadership.

The sessions ended with gifts of appreciation from Perdana Leadership Foundation, represented by Puan Zarina Abu Bakar, CEO, Perdana Leadership Foundation

The Perdana Discourse Series is organised by Perdana Leadership Foundation and is fully sponsored by DRB-HICOM Berhad.

The discourse monograph will be published next year. Click on this link for the official photos of the discourse:  https://bit.ly/PerdanaDiscourseSeries23

To view and download PDS 23 Programme Book, please Click HERE.

Downloadable programme materials:

  1. Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli – Keynote Speech , The ‘communiversity’ – Rediscovering education for sustainability
  2. Ms Norhayati Jantan – Presentation Slides
  3. Ms Nina Adlan – Presentation Slides
  4. Mr Beh Zeng Kang – Video

Media :

  1. Astro Awani
  2. MREM
  3. MREM
  4. MREM

For enquiries, please contact Programme Coordinators of this event:

About Perdana Discourse Series (PDS):
Perdana Discourse Series is a half-day event where a prominent presenter will speak on a pre-determined topic addressing its definition and tracing issues like policies, strategies, and possible models used during the tenure of the past Prime Ministers, in addition to achievements accomplished throughout each of the five premierships. Discussions and issues arising from the discourse will be duly documented and published in monograph form.
The Discourse has previously dissected topics such as National Unity, Social Re-engineering, Political Stability, Economic Development, Affirmative Action, International Relations, Education, Leadership, and Innovation.

About Perdana Leadership Foundation
The Foundation is a non-profit organisation established in 2003 to document, disseminate, research, and archive materials related to the past Prime Ministers of Malaysia, and nation-building. The Foundation intends to become the premier institution for the study of Malaysia’s Prime Ministers and the central resource centre for research into national stewardship as well as a platform for reflection, debate, and discussion with distinguished figures in Malaysian leadership. Our Honorary President is the fourth and seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. To date, we have digitised more than 500k materials, half of which are available for free through our website www.perdana.org.my. Membership of our Perdana Library is free, and members also get to enjoy the library’s physical facilities located in a cosy enclave in Precinct 8, Putrajaya.

About DRB-HICOM Berhad
DRB-HICOM Berhad (“DRB-HICOM”) is one of Malaysia’s leading conglomerates with core businesses in the Automotive, Services, and Property sectors. With more than 70 active companies in its stable and over 56,000 employees group-wide, DRB-HICOM’s aim is to continue adding value and propelling the nation’s development. In the Automotive sector, DRB-HICOM is involved in the manufacturing, assembly, and distribution of passenger and commercial vehicles, including the national motorcycle. In Services, DRB-HICOM is involved in various businesses, including concession and financial-related services. In Property, DRB-HICOM is involved in the development of industrial properties.