KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18, 2014:

Gerakan deputy president Datuk Dr Cheah Soon Hai said the party must engage and maintain real contact with young people to promote political participation among them.

He said this could be done by understanding their thinking and feelings, while addressing issues that had relevance to their everyday lives.

“The younger generation is different than others as they are more idealist and are confident in being able to make the world a better place.

“We need them to be our party’s frontline or vanguard and protect the party from being vilified by outsiders and controversies.

“This is what I hope Gerakan Youth can achieve,” he said during Gerakan’s 43rd National Delegates Conference (NDC) held at the Setia City Convention Centre this weekend.

Citing an example, he said Gerakan Youth had been rejuvenating the engagement with young people by meeting university undergraduates recently.

He also lauded the proposal by Gerakan Youth to include women members below age 35 as part of the Youth wing while retaining their Wanita Gerakan membership at the same time.

“This goes to show that Gerakan is changing progressively in line with the current political orientation.

“I’m confident that such a move will make Gerakan stronger,” said Cheah, who also urged the Youth and Wanita wings to work closer to improve the party’s ailing fortune.

Cheah also echoed the call by party president Datuk Mah Siew Keong to be a more forceful advocate of the 1Malaysia concept by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“1Malaysia must continue to flourish and the Federal Constitution respected by all in line with the ‘middle path’ that calls for moderation and inclusiveness.

“Our multi-racial society must not be determined or controlled by extremist voices and influences that can affect the country’s harmony and stability,” he said, citing the Islamic State (IS) as an example.

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