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Socialist Party of Malaysia
Most wore black to mourn the BN's killing of democracy. Photo by Lee Yu Kyung.
By Peter Boyle, photos by Lee Yu Kyung
May 8, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Up to 120,000 people packed and overflowed a large stadium in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur on May 8 to protest the fraudulent re-election of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government on May 5. The crowd defied a police threat to arrest all who attended the opposition-called rally. The police did not dare confront the huge crowd but since the rally have called in 28 rally speakers for questioning.
The crowd also had to brave BN threats to provoke ethnic clashes by branding the stronger opposition vote a "Chinese tsunami" – a slander against the multi-ethnic opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
The opposition plans to hold more rallies in other cities in the following days.
Kuala Lumpur, May 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of Malaysians protest government's electoral fraud.
By S. Arutchelvan, secretary general, Parti Sosialis Malaysia
May 8, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) calls for a united position to fight the result of the 13th general election [held on May 13 and "won" by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) led coalition].
The many irregularities during the election, the tainted electorol roll, the "indelible" ink [which washed off] scandal, vote buying and phamton voters calls for not only an investigation but a referundum and challenge to the result itself.
The bigger issue is not about an investigation but the legitimacy of the current government. The result of the election gave the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) a popular majority over BN [in terms of total votes cast]. We are being ruled by a government that does not have the support of more than half the voters.
Socialist Party of Malaysia's secretary-general S. Arutchelvan (“Arul”, third from left) is running for the Selangor state assembly seat.
By Peter Boyle
The PSM won two of these seats in the 2008 election: Jeyakumar Devaraj, or “Kumar” as he is better known, won the federal parliamentary seat of Sungai Siput from a high-profile former minister. PSM chairperson Nasir Hashim won the Selangor state assembly seat of Kota Damansara.
Also, the PSM is standing its secretary-general S. Arutchelvan (“Arul”) for the Selangor state assembly seat of Semenyih and its deputy chairperson M. Sarasvathy (“Saras”) for the Perak state assembly seat of Jelapang.
In the lead-up to the election, the PSM painstakingly sought to negotiate with other opposition parties to avoid a three-corner contest with the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in these seats.
April 9, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Malaysians soon go to the polls in state and federal elections, expected to be held on April 27. The ruling Front National, or Barisan Nasional (BN), coalition is dominated by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), and has traditionally attracted votes from the 50% of the population of Malay descent. The coalition has controlled Malaysia's parliament since the country's independence from Britain in 1957.
However, many predict that in this election BN dominance will be shaken by gains by the Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim.
The Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) is also standing in a number of state and federal seats, seeking to retain its two sitting MPs and increase its representation of the country's working classes and poor. The party's election manifesto is below. It can also be downloaded HERE.
For more on the PSM, click HERE.
[Below are statements issued by socialist and progressive organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. More will be posted as they come to hand.]
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Statement of the Socialist Alliance (Australia)
March 6, 2013 -- The Socialist Alliance in Australia expresses its deepest sympathies with the people and government of Venezuela on the death of Companero Hugo Chavez Frias on March 5. His passing is a huge loss for all peoples, across Latin America and the globe, struggling for a world free of inequality, exploitation and oppression.
It is testament to Hugo Chavez’s great leadership that, while mourning his death, we are also confident that the Bolivarian Revolution and the new movement for socialism of the 21st century that Chavez inspired will be continued by the mass of people, to whom he worked so hard to give power.
By the Socialist Party of Malaysia
January 23, 2012 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is deeply concerned and disappointed over the verdict of Thai court today that sentenceed labour activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk to 10 years of imprisonment for charges under the Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law) and another year of imprisonment for a violation of printing act in 2009, totaling 11 years of jail terms.
The PSM is of the view that those charges and convictions of Somyot are politically motivated, with the aim to suppress the right to freedom of expression and activism of political dissidents who not adhere to the will of ruling elite in Thailand.
The prosecution and conviction of Somyot are regressive and push the country back to the Middle Ages. Such persecution against a political activist is devastating to the democratic process in Thailand.
Socialism 2012 ends with a rousing rendition of the "Internationale".
By Jeyakumar Devaraj
[The following paper was presented at the Socialist Party of Malaysia's Socialism 2012 conference in Kuala Lumpur, over the November 25-26, 2012, weekend. Jeyakumar is a member of parliament for the PSM.]
November 24, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialism has been painted as the antithesis of democracy – and millions of people the world over believe this untruth. Right-wing political propaganda states (among other things) that
- A society based on socialism is “unnatural”. It goes against human nature which is individualistic. That’s why socialist and communist countries developed into totalitarian states. People had to be compelled to act against their normal human instincts.
- A socialist program therefore will breed dictatorship and an authoritarian government with a repressive political police etc.
- Democracy and a system of checks and balances are only possible in the free market (capitalist) system. Socialism will lead to totalitarianism.
False beliefs such as these are among the main reasons why, despite the ongoing implosion of capitalism in Europe, the majority of the people are not yet decisively moving towards a socialist economic model.
Released by Choo Chon Kai, International Bureau, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia)
November 21, 2012 -- Parti Sosialis Malaysia -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) condemns Israel for its latest brutal assault on the Palestinian people.
Israel has once again intensified its aggression against the Palestinian people of Gaza, by launching airstrikes since November 14, 2012. Israel has amassed troops on the border and threatened a ground invasion on the Gaza Strip. More than 100 Palestinians including at least 23 children have been killed since the new massacre called “Operation Pillar of Defense” began.
Israel escalated the assault on Gaza on the eve of its upcoming legislative election as its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is attempting to gain votes with Palestinian bodies.
The Zionist regime of Israel has attempted numerous times to destroy Hamas, the organisation that leads the struggle of the Palestinian people against oppression by Israel, since Hamas won the Palestinian election in January 2006. Such savage attempts include blockade of the Gaza Strip from 2007 until 2011, which turned Gaza into the largest concentration camp in the world imprisoning 1.5 million Palestinians living in dire conditions. The massacre by Israeli armed force in December 2008 to January 2009 killed more than 1400 people and wounded over 5300 people in a period of three weeks.
Celebrations following the release of the EO6. Ex-detainee Choo Chon Kai in centre. Photo by Alex Cheong.
By S.Arutchelvan, secretary general, Socialist Party of Malaysia
July 29, 2012 -- Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) -- Today marks the first anniversary of the release of the PSM EO6 [Emergency Ordinance 6] who were robbed of their freedom on June 25, 2011, when they were detained with 26 others. On July 2, 2011, they were technically released but rearrested under the Emergency Ordinance. The six, M. Saraswathy, Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, Choo Chon Kai, Sarat Babu, M. Sukumaran and A . Letchumanan were detained for another 28 days in solitary confinement without the right to trial. Their release came about exactly one year ago, only after a massive local and international campaign which saw people from all walks of life standing together against injustice and tyranny.
As we commemorate their release one year ago, we would like to thank all those who stood in solidarity with justice, fairplay and democracy. Without the intervention of the many, their release would not have been possible.
Will Vietnam and its people continue to be inspired by the revolution previous generations sacrificed so much for or will they be overwhelmed by market forces?
By S. Arutchelvan, secretary general, Socialist Party of Malaysia
May 12, 2012 -- Parti Sosialist Malaysia -- It was a great and emotional experience to visit Vietnam for an eight-day study tour in April 2011 as part of a seven-member Parti Sosialist Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia) team. Vietnam has been the inspiration for many since the 1970s. Many activists in the world today were inspired by the great Vietnamese revolution, which ousted the victor of World War II – the United States of America. Many people in the West as well as in the Third World saw the Vietnamese victory against all odds as a new hope for humanity. Perhaps no nation in the current world has undergone such a struggle for liberation and freedom.
Many people in today’s world are inspired by Che Guevara but Che himself was inspired by Vietnam. In his great saying, Che said let's create two, three, many Vietnams. Che said in his "Message to the Tricontinental", which he wrote in Cuba in 1966 before leaving for Bolivia where he was ultimately killed:
By Peter Boyle
May 1, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- S. Arutchelvan, secretary general of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), is a veteran of many demonstrations. But the Bersih 3.0 mobilisation, which he estimates was between 100,000 -150,000-strong, was the biggest he's been a part of yet in the country. “It was a huge success”, he told Green Left Weekly, “and it terrified the Barisan Nasional [BN] government.”
“The BN government sees Merdeka Square as its Tahrir Square. They do not want to see – and for the public and the world to see – images of it being occupied by democratic movement. It is their political survival. Since 2011 PM Najib [Razak] has been worrying about the Arab Spring spreading to Malaysia. He said his government would not let it happen. So on April 28, the riot police was used to prevent the people from getting to Merdeka Square at any cost.
Malaysia: Hundreds of thousands demand democratic elections at Bersih 3.0; police attack peaceful protest
Video by Green Left TV.
April 30, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Coalition of Free and Fair Elections (Bersih – meaning “clean” in Malay), the movement for free and fair elections in Malaysia, said that the April 28 rally was a great success, claiming that 300,000 Malaysians had joined the Bersih 3.0 rally in the capital Kuala Lumpur. Bersih called for a mass sit in on April 28 because it suspects that the country’s entrenched Barisan Nasional (BN) government is about to call a general election without addressing widespread electoral irregularities. Rallies were also held in around 85 cities around Malaysia and across the world (click HERE for reports).
Asian left parties: 'Free Somyot and all political prisoners in Thailand! End the medieval lèse majeste law!'
April 26, 2012 -- We, the undersigned organisations, are deeply concerned about the continuous repression against social activists under lèse majesté law in Thailand, including Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, a labour activist who has been imprisoned without bail since April 30, 2011.
We are concerned about Somyot’s continuous imprisonment, his transfer to another prison and his bail request being denied numerous times.
Somyot is known for his tireless work in the workers’ movement and to establish democratic trade unionism in Thailand. In 2007, he became editor of the Voice of Taksin magazine (now called Red Power), a political publication opposed to the military coup. Somyot is the chair of the Union of Democratic Labour Alliance and the leader of 24th June democracy group, which was formed in the aftermath of the military coup in September 2006.
By Peter Boyle
April 18, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- The Coalition of Free and Fair Elections (called Bersih – meaning “clean” in Malay), a civil society movement for free and fair elections in Malaysia, has called for a mass sit in on April 28 because it suspects that the country’s entrenched Barisan Nasional (BN) government is about to call a general election before addressing widespread electoral irregularities confirmed by a review forced on the government by the previous Bersih 2.0 mass mobilisation on July 9, 2011.
The Bersih 2.0 mobilisation was banned by the government, which set up roadblocks around the capital Kuala Lumpur, carried out pre-emptive arrests of activists and tried to ban the wearing of yellow clothes, the colour used by the movement. Yet on the July 9 some 50,000 defied the riot squads, tear gas attacks and 1600 arrests and took to the streets.
By Nazreen Nizam, PSM women's desk coordinator
March 8, 2012 -- In conjunction with International Women’s Day 2012, Parti Sosialis Malaysia [PSM, the Socialist Party of Malaysia] would like to commemorate women’s pursuit of liberation, real justice, equality and freedom.
This year is the 101st year we are celebrating International Women’s Day. Thanks to our leftist and progressive comrades who proposed such an idea, back in 1910. The United Nations theme for the Women’s Day celebration this year is "Empower rural women – End hunger and poverty’.
While it is true that majority of our rural women, especially in East Malaysia, are living in poverty, the urban women too are deeply distressed with their low income jobs, lack of social security, discrimination at the workplace and home, long work hours, lack of child-care facilities at the workplace, and the list could go on. The women are further burdened with the government’s neoliberal policies which led to privatisation of all basic needs that keeps the cost of living high. There are still many girls and women out there, both in rural and urban areas, who are illiterate.
No doubt, there has been much remarkable progress among Malaysian women in self-advancement and capitalism did contribute to that, but as a working class, we are still the oppressed class.
By Choo Chon Kai
February 13, 2012 --The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) expresses its solidarity with labour activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, who has been imprisoned without bail since April 30, 2011, and who faces charges under lèse-majesté law. We are deeply concerned over his continuous imprisonment, transferring of prisons and numerous denial of bail requests.
Somyot is known for his tireless work in the workers' movement and the establishment of democratic trade unionism in Thailand. In 2007 he became editor of the Voice of Taksin magazine (now called Red Power), a political publication opposed to the 2006 military coup. Somyot is the chair of Union of Democratic Labour Alliance and the leader of 24th of June for Democracy Group which was formed in the aftermath of the September 2006 military coup.
Statement by Asia-Pacific left and workers’ organisations
December 11, 2011 -- The strike started on September 15, 2011, and it involves nearly 12,000 workers. It was called after the negotiations between the union and the management went into deadlock.
The striking workers want to be paid US$7.50 per hour (for grade F1) to $18 per hour (for grade A5) instead of the US$2.10 per hour to $3.50 per hour they are currently receiving.
Their demands are for increases of 250% to 500%, but these wage demands are still much lower than the amounts workers are paid in other Freeport-McMoRan mines such as those in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In negotiations the union has offered solutions, but these have been rejected by the management.
Once the judge announced his decision, the courtroom erupted to cheers of Hidup Rakyat, Hidup Perjuangan' (Long live the people, long live the fight).
By Susan Loone
October 10, 2011 -- Malaysiakini -- The 24 Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia) activists facing charges under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Societies Act were given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) by a Butterworth sessions court. The decision on six other activists, who were absent today, was put off to October 28.
Those who were absent were Sungai Siput MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, M. Sukumaran, M. Santhana Devi, M. Ravindran, M. Kavitha and S. Thivya Kumar.
Judge Ikmal Hishan Mohd Tajuddin delivered the ruling after deliberating on it for almost two hours
PSM deputy president M. Sarasvathy celebrates her release. Photo by Alex Cheong.
By the Socialist Party of Malaysia
August 2, 2011 -- Parti Sosialis Malaysia -- The release of six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia) detainees five days ago does not signal the return of sanity and goodwill to the government. It was a calculated move to minimise the damage done to the country’s image at home and abroad.
Dr Jeyakumar MP is greeted upon his release by PSM members and supporters. Photo by Alex Cheong.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal would like to thank all its readers who sent solidarity and protest messages, and participated in the pickets and vigils around the world, that helped win the release of the PSM's "EO6". Together with protests in Malaysia, solidarity actions were held in the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, Australia and other parts of Asia.
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By K. Pragalath and Tarani Palani