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The International Affairs Platform

The international affairs platform is one that has never been given much appreciation nor attention in days gone by. For obvious and practical reasons, not many wanted to put in the hours, not to mention sweat, tears and headaches that I can testify it definitely entails. I was fortunate enough to be appointed as the International Bureau's executive secretary. Working closely with Sdr Sivakumar, and Sdr Chin Tong, who have been great leaders for affording me all the freedom, guidance and support I could ever ask for to do my job; I am thrilled by the progress we'gve made as a Bureau. Over the last 3 years, the bureau has been focusing on expanding the relationships already established with a few sister parties across the globe; namely Akbayan of the Philippines, the German SPD, the UK Labour, Autralian Labour and the Indonesian NASDEM and PDI-P. We have also been successful in forming new relationships with the Mauritian MMM, FRETILIN party from Timor Leste, Dutch PvdA, the S&D group and the PES of the European Parliament, the Mexican PRD, the Tunisian Ettakatol, the Swedish Social Democrats, the Norwegian Social Democrats and also the Danish Social Democrats. We have also been active at the regional and global levels, thanks to efforts of Sdr Chin Tong and Sdr Charles in years gone by. Expanding on our long standing role as steering committee of the Network of Social Democrats Asia, together with Akbayan Philippines, DAP is the co-driver of the Asian sorority of the political progressive movement. Although our membership with the Socialist International has been a turbulent one due to SI's internal problems, DAP has maintained our active and significant role on the global left. Since 2013, DAP has been a key player within the Progressive Alliance, a global network of Progressive and Social Democratic parties and Organisations representing over 80 nations. DAP is currently a member of the Progressive Alliance Board, it's highest decision making body. DAP has only recently, in September, hosted the largest International political conference ever held in Penang in collaboration with the Progressive Alliance. With delegates from over 40 countries and 60 different political and global level social organisations, it was a conference which will continue to bear fruitful cooperations and outcomes for months and even years to come for DAP and the Progressive movement for the region. Another facet of the International Bureau's work is what I call 'resource facilitation'. As the party cannot afford any financial allocations for international affairs; nor do we receive foreign funding, this is a crucial and sizeable part of the bureau's work. Through working relationships we build with political organisations, foundations and sister parties worldwide, we often identify and sometimes acquire capacity building opportunities for our party leaders and members. They could come in the form of training courses, where expertise and best practices are mutually exchanged; or collaborations with third party organisations who provide goodwill training as part of their agenda. It is also through these events that we expand our network of influence and relationships, both bilaterally and multilaterally. My role in the International bureau, though challenging, has been extremely rewarding. I can only describe it as nothing less than a perpetual roller coaster ride. I am hugely honoured but immensely humbled to have played my small part in all of the above. The friendships and relationships established along the ride have been priceless, and I will continue to do my part for as long as I have the mandate from the party to do so. If I am to be successful in the NEC elections, in proviso of the new leadership's blessing, I would be honoured to extend those relationships, friendships and collaborations to DAPSY, in bringing international affairs onto the main agenda of DAPSY.

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