KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — PKR's Youth wing responded today to Khairil Nizam Khirudin's criticism of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim by suggesting that the PAS information chief was more keen on creating sensational social media content to get superficial validation.
Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK) said Khairil's critique was rife with mistakes and inaccuracies, which it panned as a reflection of poor intellect.
According to the ruling party's Youth wing, one of the most notable mistakes was Khairil's generalisation about what Anwar had meant when he said youths today spend less time reading when he spoke at an international forum in Jakarta, Indonesia, last week.
Khairil had said that Anwar's remarks were condescending and that it was directed at youths that consumed content mostly from social media platforms like TikTok because most of them had voted for PAS and Perikatan Nasional as opposed to Pakatan Harapan.
AMK responded by stating that Khairil's criticism was inaccurate because PH actually won more of the popular vote than PN.
"What he (the PM) had said was merely an example to illustrate the state of things today; that is the (state of) culture about knowledge acquiescence (among youths) and the risk of over specialisation. It has nothing to do with attacking an entire generation," the PKR Youth wing said in a lengthy statement.
"In fact the PM himself said these habits and tendencies do have some positive aspects; and he did not adopt an antagonistic position because it was merely a statement about contemporary youth culture."
On Khairil's statement that Anwar's statement was offensive to the youths because "they had unanimously rejected the PH-Barisan Nasional leadership based on the 15th general election results", AMK said the statement was also inaccurate.
"I think more people would be offended by the PAS information chief's attempt to dumb down the public level of intellect. Not only did he use fake facts but also tried to mislead," it said.
"What he had said was just not true...based on micro comparison, PN only received 30.7 per cent of the popular vote but PH under the leadership of the prime minister had received 38 per cent of the popular vote."
Malaysians rank lower than many of their regional peers in terms of time dedicated to reading, according to the 2021 World Score Index that tracks reading habits. That year, Malaysians spend an average of just three hours reading compared to the Chinese and Thais, who spend five hours more.
India was ranked the highest spending up to 10 hours a day reading.
Anwar's observation about social media's impact on Malaysian youths was made during a forum attended by many of Indonesia's most prominent leaders, an event scheduled as part of his maiden visit to Jakarta.
A respected long-time ally of Indonesia's political class, Anwar's leadership could mark a new era of stronger political and trade ties between the two countries, according to international relations analysts.
During the three-day visit, Malaysia's 10th prime minister oversaw the signing of nine memorandums of understanding (MoUs) involving Malaysian companies valued at over RM1 billion.