Young Democrat Muhd Shamin, who is on an internship with the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium is up to his neck in work. But by the looks of it he is not complaining.
Far from it, Mr Shamin seems to be enjoying his attachment there and taking in all that he has been able to do, see and hear. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any young politician, especially one from an autocratic state, to observe up close how a democratic parliament works.
Mr Shamin left for Europe in Jan 2010 and will be there until early April for a 3-month stint.
His job includes attending various group meetings and seminars, and he is tasked to carry out administrative and research work.
Some of the meetings include subjects on EU-Anti Cartel policies, religious diversity in Europe and a discussion between European Parliamentarians (MEPs) and the Opposition from Russia.
The Russian opposition leader related that there is almost no opposition in the Russian parliament and the opposition was divided.
The intern also helped to organise a conference on Burundi. The subject of the democratic process in the African nation was discussed especially after the genocide that took place there which killed over one million people.
“The European Parliament operates in a way that is very open,” the Young Democrat observed. “Every MEP is able to express his or her opinions freely and openly.”
Mr Shamin also pointed out, with obvious reference to the PAP, that because there is an open media no single party will be able to praise itself sky-high without its deficiencies also highlighted by the press.
The seminars, Mr Shamin noted, also invite NGOs, independent academics, and the business community to express their views on various subjects. This consultative process reflects the genuine nature of the open and democratic nature of the European system.
In a separate development, YD Honorary Secretary Jarrod Luo will be participating in an election observation mission later this week in the Philippines under the invitation of the Young Liberals and Democrats of Asia (YLDA).
The delegation of young politicians will be following the campaign of the Liberal Party of the Philippines (LP) in the run-up to the general elections in May this year.
Also travelling overseas in the coming weeks is Young Democrat Mr Teoh Tian Jing who will be visiting Strasbourg, France for a one-week seminar in April on “Non-Formal and Human Rights Education” organised by the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY).
Meanwhile, YD Program Director Muhd Khalis just returned after attending the National University Students Movement Congress 2010 in Kuala Lumpur over the weekend.
YD is also looking into possibility of sending a member to attend a youth workshop in Gwangju, South Korea to learn about various movements in the struggle for democracy in Korea and Asia.
We will be bringing you reports of these activities as they become available. Under its present leadership the YD is quickly developing into an effective youth movement for democratisation in Singapore by learning how democracy works in the free countries.
This will put Singapore in good stead as they mature to become future leaders of the SDP.
YD Muhd Shamin’s earlier report on his internship: Witnessing democracy in action at EU