THE lack of financial literacy among the Malaysian youth is a longstanding problem and it has resulted in youth, particularly from underprivileged communities, unable to break out of the cycle of poverty. This, unfortunately, also perpetuates generational wealth disparities, which can stagnate a country’s future economic growth.
Securities Commission Malaysia surveys reveal that our youth exhaust their savings clearing financial debt instead of developing wealth through strategic investments. Other reports by UCSI Research Poll and the Federation of Malaysians Consumers Association indicate that the youth are prone to poor spending habits and bankruptcy. The situation is grave and many have called for the government to put greater emphasis on educating the young about the importance of financial literacy.
The government could explore ways in which it could collaborate with organisations dedicated to promoting financial literacy that could serve as curricular activities for students to participate in, and which could be implemented quickly and efficiently. One such group is Financial Literacy Youths: Malaysia (FLY Malaysia). A civil society organisation spearheaded by youths, FLY Malaysia creates programmes that cover various areas in finance and economics designed for youths. Such collaborations would allow workshops to be conducted in schools, colleges and universities to expose the youth to finance-related topics. The government could also partner with programmes that provide crucial insights into Malaysian industries and the workplace, to equip the youth with relevant skills desired by employers, which leads to increased employability.
The government’s endorsement of organisations such as FLY Malaysia increases the group’s visibility to the youth as it legitimises their efforts, which allows for more youth to be aware of its programmes and in turn take greater interest in finance-related issues. Empowering such groups is a necessary step towards improving financial awareness among the youth, given the degree of coordination required to make an impact on the community. – April 28, 2023.
* Pravin Periasamy reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.