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Young Democrat (YD) Muhd Shamin left for Brussels, Belgium on Sunday evening to begin a three-month internship in the European Parliament (EP). The internship program is organised for member parties of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) which the SDP is the current chair.
Mr Shamin has been preparing for this trip for weeks and told friends when they sent him off yesterday: “I am really excited about the trip. Rarely are Singaporean youths given the opportunity to study Europe’s political system and to do an internship with the European Parliament.”
The Young Democrat will be involved with research as well as drafting position papers in the EP. He will also spend time in Strasbourg, France which is the other location of the EP.
Interns are paid a stipend that will help them with their meals and accommodation.
Apart from parliamentary work Mr Shamin will also be exposed to advocacy initiatives of certain non-government organizations (NGOs) in Europe. Unlike in Singapore, European lawmakers regularly consult and work with civil society to improve on the quality of laws that they make as well as to enhance the process of legislation.
This stint is invaluable for Mr Shamin personally as well as for the party. The knowledge he gains will contribute to the growing experience of a dedicated group of young SDP members who will assume leadership positions in the party in future.
“I hope to establish contacts with groups there and bring back knowledge and experience that I can share with the YD,” Mr Shamin said. “Hopefully, this will bring about new concepts and ideas that will contribute towards the struggle for change in Singapore.”
While the YD member hopes to hit the ground running when he arrives in Brussels, he was a little more worried about the European weather.
“There’s a cold snap going through England,” he said warily, “but I guess I’m prepared. I’ve got my winter clothes ready!”
The internship programme is organized by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and Friedrich Naumann Foundation to give promising young politicians and activists exposure to parliamentary work.
The interns come from the various member parties of the Council Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD). Past interns from Singapore were Mr Charles Tan (who is currently studying in Australia) and Mr M Ravi.