Party Boys (Interview with NSTP)
Party BoysPeople’s Justice Party Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin describes himself to be in politics full time and is a part- time lawyer (criminal and syariah). The International Islamic University law graduate who runs a law firm in Bangsar hails from Kampung Kesang Tua, Jasin, Malacca. Active in academics based society, his first political post was the President of the Law Society, IIU in 1995/96. He was President of the ASEAN Law Students Association (ALSA) and he had set up the International Executive Association for Malaysian Students. His father wanted him to become a lecturer but 31 year old Shamsul Iskandar says he can contribute more to society through politics.
Q: Why and how did you get involved in politics? What is your designation in your party?
A: My late mother Halimah bt Hj Kidam was an active social worker with the then Womens Institution. My father Hj Mohd Akin bin Hj Ayim, 61 was active in the Union. Both had instilled in me the discipline and leadership qualities. I had many discussion on current issues with my father. College Islam Alam Shah in Klang also helped developed the leadership qualities.Before 1998 I believed that the country was going in the right direction. Although interested in politics since my student days but only became involved in party politics after 1998. The political turmoil in 1998 was an eye opener for me. Before 1998 I believed that the country was going in the right direction. I want to make politics more interesting and appealing to the young. I am currently the Vice Youth Chief.
Q.: How long have you been involved in politics? How long do you intend to stay? If you chose to stay, why?
A: I joined party politics on April 4th, 1999. Politics is about people. High risk means high returns. I want to be a prime mover and I will stay on until people no longer wants me or my mission is accomplished. As long as the people trust my leadership, I can pursue the political ideals within the structured organisation. We need someone to speak up about injustice. If you are not in party politics, you cannot convince the policy makers.We want the Government to give us room to the young to be part of the nation building process.
Q: What are your hopes and aspiration for your party? How do you see your role in it?
A: We are a new party so we have no historical baggage. We are unique because we are the first to truly represent the multiracial community in the country, just like our motto - Justice for all. We want to make the party relevant to the youth. We are giving a conducive platform for the youth to come up with new ideas. We want to give new hopes to youth. We cannot develope intellectualism through a repressive ambience.Youth don’t feel appreciated rather exploited. We are fighting for space and level the playing field. I want to be the locomotive of change,not only the vehicle. It is not only to educate the youth but to give suggestions to the Goverment and the party to solve the prevailing unemployment problems and the increasing crime rate.
Q: How do you want to pursue your political ideals. What are they? Are you encouraged or discouraged by politics? Why
A; Youths today are afraid to get involved with politics seen as repressive and ruthless. We want to provide a comfortable environment to train them to be good leaders and be the voice of the peoples conscience. Empowerment has to start with the students. We want to make the party relevant to the youth. We must lift the culture of fear which inhibits progress.It is my professional duty and personal responsibility to propagate what is good.
Q: Do you think it is important for the young to be politically aware and active? Why?
A: We want youth to be part of the political process. Politics is about people. Thus you must be actively involved to voice the issues that relate to you. We see a vacuum in the next leadership line up whilst our youth has the potential to be world class leaders