Today marks International Youth Day, a day of rejoicing as well as remembrance.
We rejoice at the magnificence, strength and beauty of youth and marvel at their boundless zest for life and their creative energy.
Indeed, we take great pride and even a sense of satisfaction in their achievements for we know that where they are today, we once were there too.
But the difference is that today, the youth of the world can reach out farther ahead than we ever could. Today, they are more mobile now than ever before, physically and virtually.
Their aspirations and their potentials will have far greater impact. Indeed, our future may well lie in the palm of their hands.
Yet, today is a day to take stock of things and remember. While we rejoice in the blessings and bright prospects of the future, let us not forget those who are less fortunate: the thousands of young people who are fleeing persecution and the ravages of civil strife and war.
Let us pause to remember the thousands who have to risk life and limb in search of better economic conditions, facing discrimination, oppression and exploitation.
Let us remember too that poverty, deprivation of fundamental basic health-care and lack of basic accommodation and amenities will be recurrent issues that must be on the list of priorities to be resolved.
So, to the youth of today, I humbly say to you: As you have done before, so shall you continue, to protect your fundamental liberties, your constitutional rights and the rule of law. Never lose the drive to protect the weak and the marginalized and to fight for justice for all.
DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI