My Speech At The ‘9 May 2018: Notes from the Frontline’ Book Launch

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad speaks at the launch of his book ‘9 May 2018: Notes from the Frontline’ by Anwar Ibrahim.

The book is available at major bookshops and online at for RM25.

9 May 2018 has now etched its place in Malaysia’s history as the day that the Barisan Nasional was finally brought down after 61 years in power. For Nik Nazmi 9 May 2018 was also a personal milestone, it was his first time standing in a general election at the federal level. At GE14 he stood for the Parliamentary seat of Setiawangsa, the only seat in Kuala Lumpur that Barisan Nasional had never lost, but in GE14 they finally did, as seats across the country swung towards Pakatan Harapan.

How did this happen? How did a coalition of parties which fell apart after GE13 manage to rebuild and take on a government willing to use all of the tools it could to hold onto power? In 9 May 2018 – Notes from the Frontline Nik Nazmi gives his behind the scenes take on the political developments in the opposition coalition from the disappointment of GE13 to the ecstasy of GE14.

Recalling the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition and the founding of Pakatan Harapan he also gives first-hand experiences of the back room politics, the party conferences, the development of INVOKE, working with then former PM Mahathir Mohamad, as well as insight into the campaigns he worked on in Selangor and Setiawangsa, and in marginal seats from Perlis to Sabah.

More than anything 9 May 2018 – Notes from the Frontline is a first-hand account of what it was like to witness the birth of a New Malaysia.

Welcoming The Re-Opening Of Purchase Of Submarines

There have been media reports that the authorities have re-opened investigations into the controversial 2002 purchase of the two French Scorpene submarines.

This highly-welcome development vindicates years of work—not only by Pakatan Harapan figures—but also members of the media and civil society, who sought to expose the truth about the deals in the face of great adversity.

If the case has indeed been re-opened, the authorities must carry out the new investigations with all due dispatch and charge any party they believe is guilty of wrongdoing.

Moreover, the Pakatan Harapan government should recommit itself to ensuring greater transparency and accountability when it comes to defence and indeed, all forms of government procurement.

It should identify, publicise and implement measures to ensure that our taxpayer ringgits are not wasted and that our serving men and women are adequately equipped to defend our land.

The sorry, sordid saga of the Scorpene submarines should never be repeated again.


Bringing Inclusivity Back

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NOBODY expected Setiawangsa to fall in the last General Elections.

Carved into existence in 2004, it had always been a Barisan Nasional stronghold.

There was another perceived obstacle for the-then opposition: Setiawangsa also housed the vast Defence Ministry residential complex on Jalan Jelatek – with more than 14,000 military and 3,000 police personnel residents.

Conventional political wisdom argued that most – if not all – of these votes would go to Barisan.

And yet, somehow, PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad pulled off the miracle of wresting Setiawangsa on May 9, 2018 – with a 14,372 vote majority.

However, Nazmi’s win was not a random stroke of luck.

When it comes to politics, the 36-year-old has been at it since he was at university. When he wasn’t at lectures or cooking his favourite ayam masak lemak – to be shared generously with housemates – he spent much of his time discussing national issues with other young Malaysians in the UK.

But he has not just been an armchair politician.

He was charged with violating the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 over the 2013 Kelana Jaya Blackout 505 rally against electoral fraud.

Nazmi went on to challenge the legality of the Act and was acquitted in 2014 by the Court of Appeal, in an unprecedented victory against the law’s most oppressive provisions.

However, he was then prosecuted twice more for the same offence. He pleaded guilty in 2016 and paid the RM1,500 fine – a sum that would not disqualify him from running in GE14.

Where does he find the strength to persevere?

“When I was 14, I read Malcolm X’s autobiography for the first time. When he converted to Islam, he realised that one can talk about the brotherhood of mankind. It made me wonder why in Malaysia, where many of us are Muslim, there was no talk about fighting racism and injustice. That was my first real inspiration to join politics.”

And there was also the personal element to it all – his family never shied away from politics.

Even as a primary school student, he was a self-described political geek, thanks in no small part to his father – who was then well into his 60s. Conversations of an intellectual and political nature were commonplace at the dinner table.

This has been passed down to his young son, Ilhan, although the latter manages to balance his love for historical books and YouTube toy reviews quite well.

All in all, Nazmi has had a storied political career, which has seen him ascend various positions, including as Pakatan Harapan and PKR Youth Leader, Selangor state Exco, ADUN, and now, MP.

When asked what he hopes for the youth in Malaysia, he replies without hesitation.

“Engaging young people is very important. We must make political and civic education part of the process in campuses.”

His deep love for the country is infectious, but he also worries that misdirected political correctness, especially among the youth, leaves little room for nuanced discussions.

“I want a Malaysia that is in touch with our history, roots and culture. We have to revert to the inclusivity we used to encourage. We are sometimes too afraid to argue for our side”.

Clearly however, this won’t be the case for Nik Nazmi in the New Malaysia. — By KRA Group