The pandemic has hindered the organisation of physical events from world conferences to school graduations. Nevertheless, that did not stop the KYUEM Summit team from conducting their first KYUEM Summit online. With the theme, Malaysia Unbounded: A Vision of Resilience, this year’s summit consisted of five councils, Economics, Social Policy, Exclusive Council, Politics and Science and Technology. The summit also had a Panel Symposium moderated by Hazim Mohamad, KYSER Class of 2010, who co-founded the KYUEM Summit back in 2012.
This year’s team, led by Puteri Hannah Yasmin, KYSER Class of 2019, and Abirammi Gunalan, invited a roster of well-decorated speakers. “The virtual platform has allowed us to hear from various speakers worldwide from Scotland , Germany, Switzerland, US and Indonesia. This is so we could incorporate experiences and insights from global renowned corporations such as the World Bank, the United Nations amongst many others, to the invaluable discussions, making the most out of the situation,” said Hannah. She believes that the summit provides a platform to empower the youth by broadening their perspectives of knowledge in different topics they might not discuss on a regular basis.
Panel Symposium – Post Pandemic Prospects, Malaysia’s Road to Shared Prosperity
What started out as a Student Council manifesto has become an international conference. Hazim never imagined that the KYUEM Summit would grow to how big it is today. Life seems to come full circle with Hazim coming back to the KYUEM Summit as a moderator for the Panel Symposium.
Joined by Dato’ Izzaddin (President and Group CEO of Axiata Group Berhad), Shakira Teh (Senior Economist at the World Bank) and Nadiah Wan (CEO of Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara and TMC Life Sciences Berhad), the panel symposium discussed on Malaysia’s next step after the pandemic through the economic, social and political lens.
“Health is a shared responsibility” – Nadiah Wan
To combat the pandemic, a united front from private and public sectors is needed. In the future, Malaysia needs to put more emphasis on public health, especially when it comes to education on public health. People need to know how bad the implications of the virus are even after recovering. Nadiah noted that one of the biggest challenges was actually contact tracing.
On the economic side of things, Shakira Teh noted that before the pandemic, it was estimated that Malaysia would be reaching a high-income status by 2024-2028. But unfortunately, Covid-19 has set us off our tracks, lowering our potential GDP. It will approximately take Malaysia two or three years to return to pre-pandemic levels. She also notes that there needs to be a push for higher productivity to achieve the high-income status.
“Although our economic trajectory hasn’t been derailed, there will be an economic setback for a couple of years,” said Dato’ Izzaddin. The pandemic has, however, accelerated the adoption and integration of technology in businesses. There has always been a fear that digitalisation may cause unemployment, but history begs to differ. With new technology, new jobs are created, people will just have to upskill and reskill themselves to keep up with the trend.
This pandemic also opened our eyes to underlying issues that always existed but have since bubbled over. Workers’ welfare in some parts of the country were not up to standard even before the pandemic. For example, the workers living in cramped living quarters are at higher risk of contracting the virus.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been countries that fared better than others. Nadiah Wan stated that there are a lot of variables that contribute to a country’s success in fighting the pandemic. Richer countries had better access to vaccinations, for example. The general health of the population also plays a role as a population with chronic diseases are more likely to be compromised if exposed to the virus. Making sure the public understands the importance of conforming to SOPs is very imperative to ensure that said SOPs reap the benefits.
Hazim also moved the conversation towards the general well being of the public. With working from home and online classes happening, it can be very taxing towards one’s mental state. Healthcare startups like Naluri have helped companies in improving their employees’ mental health.
“I try to have Zumba events with my employees” – Dato’ Izzaddin
As things are improving and Malaysia is moving towards declaring Covid-19 as an endemic, it is important for fellow Malaysians to learn to live with Covid. It may be awhile before things fully return to normal so maintaining SOPs is still important.
Through out all councils, the KYUEM Summit has provided invaluable insight to the participants. More events and conferences should be organised to empower the youth with knowledge outside your normal school syllabus.