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Malaysia: PSM congress debates relationship with opposition Pakatan Rakyat

June 9, 2010 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia's 12th Congress was held in Kuala Lumpur on June 5-6, 2010. Three hundred delegates from nine states, and allied organisationd and grassroots committees, attended. The congress was officiated by the PSM’s national chairperson Comrade Nasir Hashim. Three papers were presented on the environmental crisis facing the world, leadership transition in PSM and the Malaysian governments economic policies. Resolutions (see below) were debated on the second day touching on idelogical questions, local government elections and the PSM's relationship with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat.

PSM's 12th Congress resolutions

The Socialist Party of Malaysia's 12th Congress, held in Kuala Lumpur on June 5-6, 2010, ended with the support of our delegates and observers for the following 18 resolutions:

  1. PSM rejects the New Economic Model that is centred around the interests of capitalists. We demand a welfare state for Malaysia.

  2. PSM demands that the rights and welfare of workers be protected by taking the following steps:

    • Enactment of a Minimum Wage Act.

    • Bank Negara must play a more active role in solving the people's problems during the economic crisis.

    • Stop retrenchment of workers during the economic crisis.

    • Protecting the rights of migrant workers.

  3. PSM strongly opposes the goods and services tax (GST), a tax that will impoverish the people.

  4. PSM demands the abolition of draconian acts including the ISA [Internal Security Act], AUKU, OSA and PPPA.

  5. PSM opposes all neoliberal attempts by the ruling authorities to decrease social spending and transfer financial burden onto the people. PSM demands for:

    • Subsidies for essential goods

    • Cancellation of all plans for an oil hike

    • Nationalisation of all oil and gas resources in Malaysia

    • Abolition of the toll.

  6. PSM strongly opposes the privatisation of public services including water and health care. PSM also demands for free education for all, including free tertiary education; as well as decent housing for the people.

  7. PSM condemns PERKASA which uses racial politics to manipulate and divide the people.

  8. PSM demands that the government take concrete action to protect the environment including:

    1. Stopping all environmentally destructive projects

    2. Stopping all plans to build a nuclear power plant

    3. Remove existing environmentally destructive and health-threatening radioactive waste in Perak.

    4. PSM also supports the struggle of the residents of Bukit Koman in stopping cyanide contamination by gold mines.

  9. PSM opposes the issuing of football betting licenses which create opportunities for crony capitalists to fool the people for their money.

  10. PSM demands a government administration that is clean, transparent, democratic and that can take the following actions:

    • Strongly oppose the right of PDRM officers to kill

    • Oppose PDRM's actions in preventing and disrupting public demonstrations by the people

    • Eradicate corruption, cronyism and nepotism in all government levels including federal, state and local

    • SPRM and SPR be made independent and free from all political influence and manipulation.

  11. PSM demands local governments and also that Pakatan Rakyat hold local government elections.

  12. PSM demands laws preventing people's representatives from party-hopping.

  13. PSM demands the government recognise refugee status and protect the rights of refugees.

  14. PSM demands the government adopt the Yogyakarta Principles, a set of international human rights laws in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.

  15. PSM condemns Israel's attack on ships bringing aid into Gaza and demands Israel stop the blockade of Gaza.

  16. PSM strongly opposes US attempts to stop the growth of socialism in Latin America by intimidating Venezuela with its military bases in Colombia.

  17. PSM strongly opposes the actions of Abhisit's government in Thailand in cruelly repressing the pro-democracy Red Shirts movement.

  18. PSM supports peoples' struggles around the world in resisting the attacks of capitalist governments on social welfare for the people during the global economic crisis.

PSM mulls joining Pakatan Rakyat

June 6, 2010 -- Malaysiakini -- The Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) will be debating on whether to officially join the Pakatan Rakyat coalition at its three-day congress, which kicked off yesterday.

NONEThe Pakatan-friendly party has two seats -- a state seat (Kota Damansara in Selangor) as well as a parliament seat (Sungai Siput in Perak) -- which it won at the 2008 general election under the
Pakatan Rakyat banner as PSM had not yet been formally registered at the time.

The party has the distinction of finally knocking out long-time Sungai Siput representative and pro-government Malaysian Indian Congress supremo S. Samy Vellu, when Dr D. Jeyakumar finally emerged triumphant in his third attempt.

However, after years of trying to get its party officially recognised, which included a court battle, Malaysia's last remaining socialist party finally received the green light from the government two years ago.

At the congress, party delegates will also debate another motion which condemned Pakatan for using campaigning methods similar to those of the ruling Barisan Nasional, especially in April's hotly contested Hulu Selangor by-election.

spr approve psm logo 290409 s arutchelvanPSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan (right in photo) said that while the party was critical of Pakatan's “Barisan Nasional-type fishing for votes”, he was quick to stress that the motion is not meant to damage Pakatan.

Arutchelvan described the motion as an honest recommendation to Pakatan so that the opposition coalition can perform better next time.

“Some of our people participated in the by-election campaign, and they feel it's important for us to criticise Pakatan on that matter”, he said.

At the April 25 by-election Pakatan, which controls the Selangor state government, had been accused of using the state machinery, among others, in the contest.

The PSM Nusa Jaya branch in Johor has moved the "join Pakatan" motion, while the Selangor's Subang branch submitted the other.

Arutchelvan added that of the 26 motions received by the secretariat to be debated behind closed doors at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, these two were the most “interesting”.

PR must resist capitalism

PSM president Dr Nasir Hashim, in opening the party's first congress in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, ticked off Pakatan for being too election-oriented. He argued that this possibly contributed to their recent Hulu Selangor defeat.

“Probably Pakatan is too election-oriented until it cannot move actively and aggressively after the unprecedented good result in the 2008 general election.”

“Or this loss merely meant the rakyat [people] remains imprisoned in our racist, religion-based and (corruption-steeped) trap”, said Nasir, who is also the Kota Damansara assemblyperson.

If Pakatan failed to make amends, Nasir warned that the young opposition coalition will end up consumed by capitalism, which he said has become part and parcel of the BN.

Meanwhile, a group of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officers confiscated about 50 PSM flags which were placed at the sides of the road outside the congress hall.

However, PSM managed to retrieve all the flags from DBKL later last evening, and had them reinstalled in their original locations.

PSM opts not to join Pakatan ... for now

By Hazlan Zakaria

June 7, 2010 -- Malaysiakini -- Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) will not be joining Pakatan Rakyat as a component party but has instead opted to continue its “close cooperation” with the opposition coalition in the fight to topple the Barisan Nasional-led government.

PSM secretary-general S. Arutchelvan said the decision followed a spirited discussion between two camps in the PSM -– one in favour of joining Pakatan, and another dead set against it -– in a special closed-door session that dragged on until 2am last night that resulted in the compromise.

“There were two viewpoints, one side wanted for PSM to remain independent as a third force in a tri-party system, the other side wanted us to join with Pakatan so that we can bring down BN”, Arutchelvan told Malaysiakini when contacted after the close of the party's three-day congress in Kuala Lumpur.

The party is not averse, however, to closer cooperation with Pakatan in order to fight the “main enemy”, he noted. “Barisan Nasional is our main enemy, and Pakatan is our best weapon to wield against the ruling party. We have no problem with using a common logo, or a common platform or manifesto (with Pakatan).
“In fact, we can also sign an electoral pact with Pakatan”, said Arutchlevan, adding that the PSM is open to campaigning under the Pakatan logo and manifesto in the next general election.

He explained that the compromise was reached so as “not to rock the boat”.

The party, Arutchelvan said, does not want the conflict to worsen and lead to the departure of party members. Nor does PSM want to spoil the “friendship” it currently enjoys with the opposition coalition, he added.

Don't copy Barisan Nasional

In the same spirit of friendship with Pakatan, Arutchelvan said party delegates also passed a motion to inform the opposition coalition of PSM's unhappiness with what it said was Pakatan's “charity-gifting” during the Hulu Selangor by-election campaign.

“Whatever they have done, Barisan Nasional can also do. So there is no difference between the two. Pakatan needs to differentiate itself”, he added.

Simply giving gifts to the people is good and should be continued, but it must go hand-in-hand with educational programs to educate the people.

Arutchelvan said he believed that the people support Pakatan not because of the "gifts", but because they understand what the opposition coalition is fighting for.

What Pakatan lacks, he claimed, is a concerted effort to inform and educate the people.
“Without an ideology the actions do not matter. This lack of ideology may hinder Pakatan's efforts in the long run”, he said.

The motion on whether or not to join Pakatan and to censure the opposition coalition over "Barisan Nasional-style" campaigning in Hulu Selangor were part of 26 items submitted for discussion at the party's congress which was attended by 300 delegates from nine states.

Other notable motions passed during the congress included socialists party's criticism of the government's planned subsidy cuts, the lack of minimum wage.

No use recycling

There was also a motion blaming the deplorable state of the environment on the questionable business practices of “big industries and capitalists”, who Arutchelvan said are the “root cause” behind the problem.
“It is no use telling people to recycle, not to use plastic bags and what not, if we don't pinpoint and solve the root causes”, he added.

The PSM has two seats -- a state seat (Kota Damansara in Selangor) as well as a parliament seat (Sungai Siput in Perak) -- which it won at the 2008 general election under the PKR banner as PSM had not yet been formally registered at the time.

PSM won’t be joining Pakatan but will cooperate

June 7, 2010 -- The Star -- Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is not formally joining Pakatan Rakyat but will work closely with the grouping to topple the ruling Barisan Nasional.

Central committee member Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj said delegates at the party’s 12th congress here yesterday had approved a motion to collaborate with Pakatan.

Dr Jeyakumar said the party did not table a motion on the possibility of formally joining Pakatan as some quarters were “not agreeable” to it.

“As we did not want to rock the boat, we will stick to what the majority of the delegates want, which is to work closely with Pakatan Rakyat to break Barisan’s political hegemony’’, he said, adding they would also be critical of Pakatan’s policies that were deemed improper.

He said PSM was part of the anti-Barisan Nasional team that was out to bring down the Barisan coalition.
The call to co-operate with Pakatan was among the 18 motions passed yesterday.

Other motions include going green to save the environment and to actively take up issues affecting the rakyat such as soaring price of goods and proposed removal of subsidies.

On whether the PSM would contest more seats in the next general election, Dr Jeyakumar said the matter was yet to be discussed.

“But most likely, we will contest the four seats we did in the last general election (namely Sungai Siput, Kota Damansara, Semenyih and Jelapang)’’, said Dr Jeyakumar, who is also the Sungai Siput MP.
Of the four seats contested, PSM lost in Semenyih and Jelapang. PSM chairperson Dr Nasir Hashim won the Kota Damansara seat.

Both Dr Nasir and Dr Jeyakumar contested under PKR banner in the last general election.

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Parti Sosialis Malaysia: A leftist take on politics

June 2, 2010 -- Klik4malaysia caught up with PSM chairperson Dr. Mohd Nasir Hashim to get a taste of his views. Dr Nasir was one of the pioneers in the left movement, starting off with the Malaysian Peoples Socialist Party (PSRM) but left the very moment the word "socialist" was stripped off PSRM.

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