On March 6, the World Economic Forum announced its Young Global Leader (YGL) honourees for 2012. I was among the two Malaysians who was named YGLs, the other being my friend, Nurul Izzah Anwar MP. The YGLs are chosen from among outstanding leaders below the age of 40 in the fields of business, civil society, arts and culture, media and politics.
Our world is at a defining moment today. The system as we know it was inherited from the 40s, perfected in its current form in the late 80s. In Malaysia, this was especially reflected in our government at the federal level where the same ruling party has governed for more than half a decade. Increasingly, we are discovering that business as usual is not feasible. We are witnessing the failure and even the breakdown of traditional financial system, political system and even our social system, all of which we have come to cherish. We are entering into the 21st century with new problems, problems unanticipated by our predecessors when they set the current system running.
The world is now clamouring for change. This means opportunity for us to rethink the way we look at the world’s problems and their solutions. And rethink we must. We live in the midst of many choices of activities and information. A real change cannot come by merely doing a lot of things, much less by rhetorics of change. A real change involves boldness to imagine what is not there, to imagine a different future, sometimes having to discard existing structures because often these are part of the problems. We just cannot afford to merely do more of the same. In a world where everyone is busy with many activities and movements, the most revolutionary thing to do is to step back and rethink carefully the barrage of information available to us.
What is a better place to imagine a better future than in a forum with the best young minds of our time. And this was perhaps a demonstration of the farsightedness of Professor Klaus Schwab to gather the next generation world leaders in the Forum of Young Global Leaders to participate in rethinking our world.
I am both thankful and excited to receive this honour. I am aware this honour is not mine alone but it is a recognition by the global community of the importance of Penang and Malaysia in the world. I am also aware that this honour is not a prize to be coveted but rather a platform for further engagement, not least the rethinking and reshaping of our future together.
To friends and well-wishers, thank you for your congratulatory messages and your support.
To the YGL community, I look forward to working with the best!
The video below was from a press conference by the Chief Minister of Penang, Mr. Lim Guan Eng, announcing my nomination as a YGL.