Building Upon Hope To Have More Morally Upright Malaysians

Speakers and participants at the “Building the Next Generation Malaysian” forum.
By Datuk Yong Soo Heong

One of the inspiring takeaways from the “Building the Next Generation Malaysian” Forum organised by ProfitMAX Entrepreneurs Network (PEN), an organisation led by business coach Mr Peter Lam, was hope.

It meant that from the many forthright thoughts and reasonings put forth by the specially-selected speakers, there is still hope yet for the country. And hope can help prevent the country from going down the slippery slope because of the prevalence of a strong core of people who care for the next generation and beyond.

It mirrored the fact that there are still upright people amongst us who care and hold dear to what is right, principled and honourable. In other words, possessing a strong moral compass.

The session on the role of education and character was moderated by Peter Lam.

Dato’ Rozalila Abdul Rahman, Independent Non-Executive Director at MISC Berhad and Affin Bank Group, started the forum on the right note by stressing upon the primary importance of character in the session on education. She stressed that there is no substitute for good character when it comes to evaluating and hiring job prospects.

Emeritus Professor Ng Kwan Hoong of Universiti Malaya brilliantly reminded educators on the need to adhere to their school mottos and went on to list a number of maxims adopted by some of illustrious schools. In a nutshell, he seemed to have put it succinctly: pay heed to your school motto and you will be all right.

And why not? Interestingly most of the illustrious schools in Malaysia established before Merdeka on Aug 31, 1957 seemed to have their school motto in Latin. St John’s Institution in Kuala Lumpur has Fide et labore for “Faith and Labour”; Bukit Bintang Girls’ School adopted Nisi Dominus Frustra for “Without God, all is in vain”, Malay College, Kuala Kangsar took on Fiat Sapientia Virtus for “Manliness Through Wisdom” and the Penang Free School uses Fortis Atque Fidelis for “Strong and Faithful”.

Chan Soon Seng, CEO, Teach For Malaysia admitted that there is still room for improvement in the country’s education system and advocated taking the best from the world over to augment what is still lacking. However, he cautioned that education is not something that could be transformed overnight as it would need time before the system could be perfected, and cited Norway as a good example.

The session, moderated by Mr Peter Lam, was unanimous in espousing that building good character is the foundation of human development even before acquiring intellectual skills and knowledge, and that having good communication skills is also key in the workplace.

Session 2, moderated by Datuk William Ng, Chairman of Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta), focused on the role of the corporate and business sector in building the next generation Malaysian and the core value of exercising integrity was often highlighted.

The session on the role of the corporate and business sectors was moderated by Dato William Ng.

Ms Chua Chai Ping, Country Site Leader & HR Director of Experian Malaysia, emphasised on the need to be fair and transparent when advocating integrity while Dato’ Peter Ng, Founder and Chairman, UCSI Group, related how his family values on honesty was also transported to the work environment at the university.

Encik Kamarul A Muhamed, Founder and Group CEO of AERODYNE GROUP, a company specialising in drones technology, revealed how his company had moved abroad to set up shop first before returning to Malaysia to press home the message that it does not condone corruption.

All the speakers emphasised that they were able to grow their businesses without resorting to bribery or graft by adhering to their strong moral principles.

In the final session on youth, women and the community, moderated by BERNAMA Supervisory Council Member Datuk Yong Soo Heong, had Ms Wei Su Hwa, Director of Digital Way Academy, speaking eloquently about the importance of relevant education to lift young people towards a better life and unlocking better opportunities for them. To be able to do that, they must also help themselves by being curious to learn and improve. Hence, acquiring the right knowledge is key in a competitive world, she said.

The session on the role of society, women and youth was moderated by Datuk Yong Soo Heong.

Prof Dr Angelina Yee Seow Voon, Director of Research and Enterprise, Asia Pacific University, who traced her many roles as an academic, mentor, colleague, wife, mother and friend at different phases of her life, did not shy away from saying that behind every successful woman is a man, and emphasised the importance of love and support from family for a happy and fulfilling life. While highlighting the importance for the young to get their priorities right early on, she also advocated that one should also not be too domineering when dealing with them, lest they get alienated.

In the final analysis, there were many useful takeaways from the forum. It is now up to us to be inspired encouraged to act accordingly and produce more upright Malaysians for the next generation.

It is our duty to provide solutions and shield our beloved country from the present morass of apathy, mediocrity and shortage of integrity and strong moral compasses.

Let us build on that hope since hope is about being able to see that there is still light despite all of the darkness.

Yong Soo Heong was Editor-in-Chief and subsequently Chief Executive of BERNAMA from March 2007 to October 2014 when he retired at the age of 60. He had honed his journalism skills, mostly as a business journalist, specialising in palm oil, energy and transport prior to becoming an editor. Yong is also currently Trustee of the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) and National Press Club of Malaysia. He now writes op-ed columns in the New Straits Times (Malaysia’s oldest English language newspaper) and Nanyang Siang Pau and occasionally does corporate PR and media training.