Artikel Malaysian Insider: Politician who believe in public service
KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 – Amirudin Shari, the PKR assemblyman for Batu Caves, is as unlikely a politician as one will meet among the new, eclectic breed that have surfaced after the March 8 polls. The self-styled thinker type of political activist believes that a government is “a necessary evil.”
Average in height and weight, the somewhat bookish man seemed, at first glance, to fit in an academic setting more than the exciting, riotous arena of present day politics.
When met in his tiny first floor office in Batu Caves one rainy afternoon, he made frequent references to scholarly articles, such as EA Hayek’s “Individualism: True and False.”
He spoke hesitatingly, not because he is unconvinced of the truth of his own words, but because he is overly conscious of his new elevated role as the spokesman for his constituency. But he is not without passion.
“People empowerment. That’s my first priority. I want to educate the people here on their rights and enhance their understanding of their own power so they can think rationally and won’t get cheated by anyone,” he said.
And that includes his own political party people and state government. “It’s natural for the state (government) to conquer. But people don’t have to let them conquer so easily. Ideally, people must have dialogue with the state. The problem is people have been taught that the ADUN (state assemblyman) and MP have power …and that’s why corruption happens.
“I want society here to be independent, free and civilised,” Amirudin stated quietly but emphatically.
It is a strange occasion to meet a party member who does not seem keen to promote his own party. More than that, Amirudin steadfastly and sincerely believes in the concept of a real democracy, that is, a government that is freely elected by a fully informed and educated people.
Therefore, it seemed too easy to dismiss his words as that of an earnest, idealistic but impractical novice politician. Yet, there was something in his mien that put a stop to that cynical thought.
When Amirudin graduated from Universiti Putra Malaysia with a bachelor’s in human development, he chose to become a journalist with arab-radio.com, a web radio based in Indonesia but which transmitted to Malaysia “so it didn’t have to face the restrictions under Malaysian media laws.”
His first job lasted three months before the company ran out of funds. Thereafter, he joined the Institute for Policy Research (IKD) as a programme coordinator, a position he kept until very recently when he won the state seat in this year’s general elections.
During his four years at IKD, he kept busy with organising debates, seminars, workshops and other projects on human rights, statesmanship and democracy issues involving youth.
From his experience, he has observed that there is a dire need for the government to allow a space for the community to vent its thoughts and thereby enable a healthy and two-way communication to take place.
One way he hopes to tackle that is through sports. Amirudin is also the state deputy chairman of the Malaysian Sports Council.
“I want to strengthen the youth so they can see the thought processes and can create fair conditions in the country so Malays won’t be prejudiced towards the Chinese and the Chinese won’t be prejudiced against the Malays,” he said.
For all the scholarly impression he gives, Amirudin is well-anchored in the many miseries oppressing the urban youth and elderly who live on the fringes of society.
“I’m concerned about their welfare,” expressed a perturbed Amirudin, after expounding on the everyday infrastructural hardships affecting his constituents, which lowers their quality of life and lead to a series of other problems.
Amirudin may be an idealistic novice politician – the March polls was his first time contesting in the general elections and that at a reluctance too – he is not impractical, nor so lost within academia that he is not aware of the realities in the world beyond books, or the prejudices stacked against him.
“I’m young, only 28 years old. There are still two or three people who are cynical of me. People are not confident in me as ADUN,” he noted wearily.
But, he added, he is fortunate and glad that he has his party’s solid backing, which helps drive him forward. “I still have three to four years to prove to them,” he said, referring to his expected duration as an elected assemblyman.