SEBERANG JAYA, Nov 6 — Muda's Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has defended Malaysia's youth tonight claiming they are not "soft" but are put in a difficult situation due to the poor state of the nation's economy and government.
The incumbent Muar MP called them the "sandwich generation" who are not only pressured to start their life early once they graduate, but are also expected to take care of their parents.
"People say my generation is pampered, soft but it's the opposite. We're the sandwich generation, pressured from the top and bottom.
"In the past when we had issues we stay in our parents' or grandparents' homes. Our salaries are low but we try to manage," he said in a Pakatan Harapan mega rally here.
"But nowadays the parents of my generation are facing a hard time. Studies showed 50 per cent of retirees have no savings meaning they need to rely on their kids for three years post-retirement.
He said this was impossible because prices of goods keep rising, salaries are stagnant and low, unemployment is low, and yet they are saddled with huge education debts that they cannot repay.
"If we want to get married, start a family how can you do this with RM2,500 [monthly wage]? My generation has no assets. House prices are increasing. Let me ask you, if you're 30 do you have a house? Car? No right?" he asked.
"Engineers have to work with Grab to earn a living but is that all they can look forward to?" he said, referring to the gig economy including working for ride-hailing and food delivery service Grab.
"I'm worried if this issue isn't made national, youths will not want to go to university. In fact, 70 per cent of school leavers don't want to go to university.
"They want to be influencers because there see no point to a tertiary education," he lamented.
Saddiq said when PH was in government it had agreed to ensure no students need to repay their loans until they find a job that pays them at least RM4,000 monthly.
Among other PH leaders present were Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.