(The Star) - Student activists have wasted no time in taking advantage of the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) 1971 amendments that allow them to engage in political activity.
The newly started Barisan Nasional Youth Volunteers (BNYV) movement is one such outlet, boasting over 400 members despite having been around for just over a month.
The brainchild of Umno Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin, the movement has members as young as 18 and from all ethnic groups and walks of life.
Izzati Aisyah Adnan, a 19-year-old law student, said that joining the movement was “the best choice I've ever made”.
A team member, Izzati, said she had a passion for local governance that she was not allowed to express before the amendments were made.
“We can use BNYV to connect and bring our enthusiasm and unique perspectives to the table,” she said late Friday night at a tweet-up.
Izzati and a crowd of other members had gathered at NZ Caf in Jalan Ampang for a a tweet-up with Khairy, who engaged with the crowd and answered questions for two hours.
“I'm doing this so we can see a new culture in BN, of your own initiative and intention,” he told the rapt audience.
“I want to prove that the youth of this nation can make a difference.”
BNYVs will engage in public campaigning, voter education workshops, social work, communications, and even hope to set up voter registration booths for unregistered voters.
25-year-old Loganesh Sivabalan joined to contribute to society.
“The government has done a lot for youths. We have so many energetic youngsters in Malaysia who are interested in politics, and some are influenced by the opposition,” he said, criticising the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government for not stepping up to the plate during the recent PTPTN freeze on Selangor-owned university Unisel.
28-year-old Zaidel Baharuddin, who is BNYV's project coordinator, echoed this sentiment, saying that it was a platform for youths to have their political opinions heard.
“Unlike Pakatan Rakyat, we don't hijack the voice of the youth and claim to speak for them. We listen to you,” he said.
The current members were chosen from a pool of over 1000 applicants who had emailed in over the past month.