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Saving our marginalized youths

  • The problems of marginalized and underprivileged youths are highly intricate and must be dealt with macroscopically.

Sin Chew Daily

The arson of a private tahfiz at Datuk Keramat has brought into limelight a painful social problem lurking behind the outward prosperity our booming capital city has witnessed for decades.

The seven suspects arrested for setting the tahfiz on fire are, according to local residents, marginalized youths who have been spending their days loitering around and creating trouble.

They have even been spotted taking drugs. These teenagers torched the tahfiz out of vengeance having been embroiled in a dispute with some of its students.

In addition to Datuk Keramat, several neighborhoods in KL, notably Chow Kit, Kampung Baru and Sentul are all notorious hangouts for such marginalized youths. Many are school dropouts or have hailed from torn families. Some are even stateless minors. The live in low-cost flats and squatter areas in town.

To make a living, the parents of these youths have often overlooked their existence and social life, and this makes them more susceptible to social vices and wayward behaviors.

Some of them are children of migrant workers with no legal status and are thus denied admission into formal schools. Lack of public acceptance and attention, these youths will slowly become a source of social problems.

While anti-social behaviors have formed in their families, they are manifested in schools. Many of them are expelled from their schools for repeated disciplinary offenses, bringing with them into the bigger society their offensive acts, as exemplified by the recent tahfiz fire.

The problems of marginalized and underprivileged youths are highly intricate and must be dealt with macroscopically.

Behind the glitzy outlook and rapid urbanization of cities like KL, there are still plenty of underprivileged families struggling with their tough lives for years. They rarely benefit from the many construction projects and economic developments in our cities. Their children are forced to live in tightly packed spaces devoid of adequate recreational facilities.

They have been denied opportunities to exert their potentials, and they perform badly in schools, making it outright impossible for them to change their destinies and improve their lives, in the end becoming the forsaken lot in the society.

As our social structure becomes increasingly sophisticated, it is essential for the authorities to plan more comprehensively in terms of urban planning, allocation of educational resources and drawing up new economic measures to meet the needs of a broader segment of society.

The government must be prepared to incorporate constructive proposals from community organizations so that public policies on community care could be more comprehensive and inclusive.

The problems of marginalized urban youths can only be solved through the concerted effort of involved families, schools, community organizations and government. We must have a set of sustained and synergistic mechanisms from all relevant stakeholders in coming up with workable solutions to address this tacky issue.

 

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