PAS Youth: Any hope?
Mohd Syahir Sulaiman
Allah commands you to render back your Trusts to those to whom are entitled thereto. And whenever you judge between people, to judge with justice. Verily, most excellent is what God exhorts you to do. Verily, God is all-hearing, all-seeing. (Surah Nisa: 58)
In a recently concluded annual meeting of a mosque, of which I am the secretary-general, one of the mosque jemaah members raised his displeasure over a programme that we organised for the teenagers, namely the Geng Surau Club.
He applauded the activities: inspirational talks, futsal clinic, self-defence, photography, recreational, etc. But he grumbled about the name that we used, “Geng”. It sounds like “gangster”, according to him, at least.
With due respect to his seniority (a Datuk by nature and royal blessing), we enlightened him that in order to exert pull on the so-called Upin Ipin generation, a trendy and catchy term is a must. We need some flexibility here, and he accepted.
Between young and old, exists collision of interest. Even in the US Presidential Election campaign, the disparity is volatile. On one side are younger voters who would debate on fairness and equity, while the older ones would count on economic benefits for retirees.
Back in the Malaysian political landscape, it is estimated that seven million young voters, the so-called Gen-Y, will vote in the coming 13th General Election and their support will determine the outcome.
This composition of young voters could be an early signal of a new political landscape in Malaysia, voicing out structural change in the education, quality of living, employment, democracy, values and fiscal transparency.
High cost of living in Kuala Lumpur is a no secret. A salary of RM4,000 per month is enough for a basic living in Kuala Lumpur, slightly above RM6,000 ensures a decent living, and with RM10,000, the life could be really comfortable.
Instead, a significant 40 per cent Malaysian households still earn less than RM2,300 a month, as revealed by UNDP’s Millennium Development Goals 2010 of Malaysia
Stirring from the failure of the Barisan Nasional government to address concerns on social problems, high cost of living, unemployment, abuse of democracy and lack of transparency and integrity, PAS Youth has forwarded their aspiration to be the champion for the young, to safeguard their welfare and reform the current state of affairs.
In the just-concluded 57th Muktamar (annual general assembly) in Shah Alam, PAS Youth Chief, Ustaz Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi has mooted the offer in his keynote, “Memimpin Kebangkitan Anak Muda” (Leading the Youth Uprising).
Let’s post few questions to Nasrudin. Is PAS Youth ready to lead? What is the execution plan? Where is the destination? The latter will be answered definitely based on its underlying belief in the principles of Al-Quran and As-Sunnah, the former can be analysed based on an empirical situational model, while the middle is up to PAS Youth to execute its strategy.
The readiness of PAS Youth could be assessed by using McKinsey’s 7S Framework. The model is based on the theory that, for an organisation to perform well, these 7 elements need to be aligned and mutually reinforcing, namely structure, strategy, systems, skills, style, staff and shared values. Together these factors determine the way an organisation operates.
Founded on its central beliefs or the shared values of the principles of Al-Quran and As-Sunnah, it is the nucleus and source of motivation for PAS Youth to fulfil its call to enjoin what is good and forbid what is wrong.
This in turn shapes the way PAS Youth see and approach things. In a snapshot, PAS Youth adopted a centralised and functional division structure, which determine the way the organisation’s units relate to each other.
It has almost 165 divisions throughout the country, with active working committee at the central, state, division, and branch level. Their five-year strategic blueprint has laid down key focus area, mainly to gain acceptance and support by young voters for PAS and Pakatan Rakyat.
PAS Youth does have in place a reliable system with proper procedures, process and routines that characterise how important work is done. Besides its administrative system, it has a standard learning and development system, the so-called Tarbiyah system.
They organise periodical usrah (circle of teaching), training and mass gathering, at all level, to instil better understanding of Islam and to equip themselves with the right skill set and human resources. This is considered the glue of their strong brotherhood.
The staff, skill and style frameworks reflect the human aspect of PAS Youth. Being an open membership organisation with multi-discipline of education background shaped its appearance and exposed the organisation with different ideas and approaches. The common characteristic of PAS Youth is the sincerity, volunteerism (particularly its volunteers in Unit Amal), and ethical; the Al-Amin (Integrity) spectrum.
On the other hand, PAS Youth is perceived as lack of competency, particularly to engage in national debate on policy matters. How true is the fact? I believe, PAS Youth do have a number of qualified ulama’ and professionals, diligently building-up core competencies in public and private sector, perhaps outnumbered its counterparts in PR or BN.
As their card-holder identity comes at the price of their jobs, they chose to play it safe and hopefully when the time comes, to PAS Youth we may refer, God willing.
Chris Zook, a prominent business strategist said, “Expanding into adjacent markets is tougher than it looks. Three quarter of the time, the effort fails”.
He then outlined six ways for a business to grow into an adjacent space, namely: 1) Expand along the value chain, 2) Grow new products and services, 3) use new distribution channels, 4) Enter new geographies 5) Address new customer segments, 6) Move into a new business built on a strong capability. Perhaps, PAS Youth could think about it.
I applaud Nasrudin’s engagement with those outside its normal circle, i.e the geng surau, to some extent do have a walkabout in KLCC, Chow Kit, and Pasar Seni to meet and greet the young on the street, besides its IT-savvy Ustaz with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. Nevertheless, a lot needs to be done.
As time is not on his side, Nasrudin shall pen down his action forward, to gain respect and trust of friend and foe in gaining support from the young for reform in this country.
Be open for critics and allow differences of ideas. Instil a steep learning curve process within its organisation.
As PAS Youth is proud to be the pipeline for leadership in PAS, it should also position itself to be the pipeline producing more statesman of Malaysia. Always forward looking and continue to engage.
As Ellen Glasgow said, “All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward”.