(This interview was first published in Roketkini)
The numerous scandals in which the top leadership and politicians in the country are embroiled in, has led to the perception that politics is a money-making life choice for the youth, who choose this path for power and wealth.
For most, the assumption is that the young view politics as the easy way to expand their influence and ambitions, and to earn ‘easy money’ via government contracts and projects.
In Malaysia’s less-than-encouraging economic situation, politics can be seen as the driving factor for political involvement — aided and abetted by the fact that many of the young see their ‘mentors’ live easy lives after reaching the top of the political ladder.
However, what about the young people who join the DAP? The party has been tireless in its bid to fight corruption scandals that has been viewed as increasingly rampant under the UMNO Barisan Nasional government.
For example, DAP Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang was one of the most vocal critics of the Bank Bumiputera Finance scandal some years ago. Today, DAP National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua is seen as one of those leading the charge in exposing the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, which is linked to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
They are, indirectly, the role models to the young leaders in DAP in their political journey, and one such young leader is Executive Secretary of DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY), Muhammad Shakir Ameer.
For him, the main reason for his involvement in politics is to fulfil his responsibility as a young person concerned with the problems plaguing our nation today.
In fact, this is the driving force why a Muslim such as himself would choose DAP as his platform for political struggle — despite the false perception and accusation that the party is anti-Islam and anti-Malay.
“As a Muslim, I chose DAP because I admire and share its struggle all this while,” he said in an interview with DAP party organ, Roketkini.
“This party truly champions justice regardless of creed, class or colour, and holds firmly to its principles. It is not like some others — the party’s principles have remained the same and steadfast,” he added.
“DAP has never strayed their struggle, as they are steadfast in championing their agenda,” he said, adding that the party has suffered a negative perception through mainstream media.
“As a Muslim, I believe that transparency, justice and integrity are part of Islamic teaching, hence it is important to uphold these values as long as it is in line with Islam,” he said.
Ameer also stressed that he does not have any “ill” intention such as to broaden his influence in politics as well as to expand his bank account.
“I joined DAP for its struggle, and some of my friends even asked me why did I join DAP as I would not be getting a lot of money,” he said.
“They said if I want to make money, I should join Umno instead,” he added.
The Penang-born Shakir said, his purpose in delving into politics is in line with the principles of social democracy held by the party.
He said that he was given a greater chance at helping people in the community after being appointed as councillor of the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) in February.
He also emphasised the importance of prioritising the wellbeing of the rakyat, and cited the late Karpal Singh as his role model.
“Karpal was an indefatigable fighter for justice, who was consistent in whatever cause he believed in,” he said.
He also said many politicians from both sides of political divide has a “soft spot” for Karpal, who stood out to him as a man of great principle.
“His unwavering spirit in justice should be emulated,” he said.
(Part 2 of this interview coming soon)