YOUNG people in Asean countries feel confident about success in their future, according to a survey commissioned by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The results were released alongside other presentations and findings on Southeast Asia on Friday during an international gathering in Cambodia.
According to the survey, titled the Asean Youth Survey, 69 percent of the respondents in six countries polled – including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – are optimistic that they will have a better life than their parents did. Just 13 percent feel otherwise.
Nearly 24,000 people between the ages of 16 to 22 were surveyed by the WEF’s Asean Regional Strategy Group, in partnership with Singapore’s Sea Group.
The forum lasted three days, ending on Friday. Justin Wood, a WEF Executive Committee member, said to reporters: “Most young people in Asean feel confident that their lives will be successful… and they feel there are opportunities to make a difference and to improve their lives.”
Other key takeaways highlighted at the forum include an overall optimistic atmosphere surrounding Asean’s potential to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, ‘Dutertenomics’, and Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen using his platform to attack local media.
‘Dutertenomics’ refers to the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year development plan to build the country up, on the back of a US$173 billion infrastructure programme.
Presidential communications secretary Martin Andanar said during the pitch to WEF participants and members of the media: “Dutertenomics underlies our six-year development plan to achieve high middle-income status by the time our president leaves office. Within a generation we aim to eliminate poverty and rank among the 30 largest economies in the world.
“To do this we will invest $160 billion in our physical infrastructure. We plan to build, build, build.”
According to the Southeast Asia Globe, Hun Sen responded to questions about preparing the youth of Cambodia for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by slating Radio Free Asia and Cambodia Daily, deriding them as “servants of foreigners”.
Political commentator Cham Bunteth told the Phnom Penh Post that the Cambodian premier took aim at the media in order to distract the public from flaws in his administration, and was taking a leaf out of US President Donald Trump’s book by “painting some media as fake news or against the government”.