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Singapore Opposition Leader Wrote About Nik Nazmi

Sometime in 2003, I left Singapore for a Masters program in London. While there I met a young man, quite by chance through his house-mates who regularly played soccer with my friends and I. His name was Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, now MP for Setiawangsa. Like me, he was a student of King’s College London. Unlike me, he was already into opposition politics and a firm believer of the reformasi movement.

We kept in touch (even if it meant congratulating him when Kelantan, his home state team beat Singapore at football although I wish more people would remember that the LionsXII beat Kelantan in the Malaysia F.A. Cup Final in 2015!) and he even visited the Eunos constituency in Aljunied GRC when he was down in Singapore a few years ago.

Nik was back to give a talk a couple of months ago and we caught up for a bit. He passed me an autographed copy of a book he co-authored. It holds a special place on my bookself, next to Chin Peng’s autographed memoirs.

Who would have imagined Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad in government 15 years later? Many people rejoice over the results of GE14, but for many children and believers of the reformasi generation, it was a hard slog with many disappointments, bouts of sadness and defeat, doubts, family disapprovals and abject frustration. It was a struggle. The road was a long one. But they persevered because it was about Malaysia, their home. And that in my mind is why they won in 2018. To say politics is about power does not capture the essence of politics. Politics is about serving the people. When it becomes about power, it is time to go or to be voted out.

President Halimah Yacob observed at the opening of Parliament earlier this week that relations with Malaysia are stable and multi-faceted. Long may this continue.

Tahniah! Congratulations to Malaysia and to Nik and his team. The road will be a long one. Complete with uncertainties and very high expectations. But where did we hear that yarn about a long road before?

Pritam Singh, Singapore Opposition Leader