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Malaysia

Bersih 3.0: Najib fears Merdeka Square could become Malaysia's 'Tahrir', says socialist leader

PSM leader S. Arutchelvan ( with microphone) at Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28. Photo by Choo Chon Kai/PSM.

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).

Malaysian Spring: Bersih 3.0 democracy movement plans mass sit-in

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.

Malaysian socialists on IWD: For women's liberation, equality and freedom

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.

Malaysia: Charges against socialists discharged, but no acquittal

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

Malaysia: Socialists had no case to answer

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.

Malaysian socialists released! 'Freeing us was definitely due to public pressure', says Jeyakumar

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.

* * *

By K. Pragalath and Tarani Palani

From a Malaysian police cell: 'Why I am a socialist and intend to remain so', explains Jeyakumar Devaraj

[Jeyakumar Devaraj, a federal member of parliament, is one of six Malaysian socialists being held without trial since June 25. Protest letters still are urgently needed to be sent to the Malaysian government, please visit http://www.parti-sosialis.org/en/en/articles/1585 for details of where they can be sent. See also "Malaysia: Protests demand release of democracy activists" and "Asia-Pacific socialists demand: 'Free all political prisoners! Democracy for the Malaysian people!'".]

By Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, written in detention

Malaysia: Free the PSM 6!

By Peter Boyle

July 17, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- A week after Malaysian authorities failed to stop people taking to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur on July 9 to demand free and fair elections, six activists from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) remained in detention without trial. The detainees include federal member of parliament Dr Jeyakumar Deveraj, who has been hailed by a prominent local writer as “the Malaysian saint of the poor”.

PSM secretary general S. Arutchelvan told Green Left Weekly that he agreed with the civil society organisers of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 (“bersih” means clean in Malay) that the number of people who defied incredible police repression to come out in the streets that day was about 50,000. Police reportedly detained up to 1600 people and repeatedly fired teargas into peaceful groups of people.

Malaysia: Free Jeyakumar Devaraj, activist doctor

Jeyakumar Devaraj, Sungai Siput MP, is currently detained without trial under the Emergency Ordinance, together with five other Socialist Party members, on suspicion of “causing civil unrest by any means”.

[Protest letters still are urgently needed to be sent to the Malaysian government, please visit http://www.parti-sosialis.org/en/en/articles/1585 for details of where they can be sent. See also "Malaysia: Protests demand release of democracy activists" and "Asia-Pacific socialists demand: 'Free all political prisoners! Democracy for the Malaysian people!'"]

By Khoo Boo Teik

Urgent appeal: Free the Malaysian socialist detainees!

Candlelight vigils (also see pics below) are being held outside the federal police HQ at Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur.

By Peter Boyle, national convenor Socialist Alliance (Australia)

Malaysia's pro-democracy Bersih 2.0: It’s 50k and a big success; Support in Australia

Statement by Bersih 2.0 organisers: Malaysians show great bravery, the struggle for clean and fair elections continues

July 9, 2011 -- Bersih 2.0 -- Bersih 2.0 is proud that in spite of all the obstacles and hindrances that we were forced to face, Malaysians of all walks of life overcame the oppressive acts of the police to come out peacefully and in incredibly large numbers to show their love for their country and for the principles of justice.

We are nonetheless horrified that several hundred people have been detained, many of them without any justification whatsoever. We particularly condemn the arrests of Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevesan and Maria Chin Abdullah, two members of the Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee.

The only violence witnessed was perpetrated by the police, who unleashed immense amounts of tear gas and chemical laced water on innocent members of the public. Police also baton charged those who gathered, injuring many and some very seriously.

Dr Jeyakumar Deveraj, detained socialist MP: ‘Malaysian politics has become more dangerous’

Socialist MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj. Photo by Peter Boyle.

By Peter Boyle

July 9, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Dr Jeyakumar Deveraj, a federal member of parliament in Malaysia, is one of 30 activists of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) detained without trial on June 25 as they travelled the country campaigning against the repressive and corrupt Barisan Nasional government headed by Najib Razak.

The detention of these socialists was designed to intimidate people from supporting a broad mass rally for free and fair elections that called for July 9 by civil society groups united in the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih, which means “clean”).

(Updated July 3) Malaysia: Socialists abused in custody; Philippine socialist detained; More arrests

Manila, July 1, 2011 – Members of Partido Lakas ng Masa held another picket in front of the Malaysian embassy today.  PLM protested the arrest and detention of 30 pro-democracy activisits in Malaysia, including Romy Castillo, deputy general-secretary of PLM, who was in Malaysia for an exchange visit program with the Parti Sosialis Malaysia.

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia

July 1 -- The PSM is alarmed that its detained members are undergoing torture and inhumane interrogation from special Bukit Aman officers who have been brought specifically to extract information as most of those detained have preferred to use their rights under the law to speak to the court and not to the police.

Reliable sources from the police and those detained have confirmed that the police seem to be not making any headway in their investigation and hence they have brought in the thugs from Bukit Aman as a last minute bid to extract information.

PSM calls for the immediate release of all detainees and, if the need be, we call for them to be bailed or to be charged immediately. We call upon the police to stop all harassment, torture and inhumane treatment immediately.

(Updated July 3) Malaysia: Protests demand release of democracy activists


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

July 1, 2011 -- Emergency protest outside Malaysian Airlines offices in Sydney to demand the release of 30 Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) detained since June 25 and accused of waging "war against the king"... the "evidence" a few political t-shirts in their posession! These arrests are part of a crackdown on oppositionists in the lead up to the July 9 Bersih 2.0 democracy march in Kuala Lumpur. Photos by Peter Boyle.

See "Malaysia: Government arrests socialists ahead of Bersih 2.0 pro-democracy rally" for the background to the arrests.

Malaysia: Government arrests socialists ahead of Bersih 2.0 pro-democracy rally

[Urgent appeal for protest letters to be sent to the Malaysian government, please visit http://www.parti-sosialis.org/en/en/articles/1585 for details of where they can be sent. See also "Malaysia: Protests demand release of democracy activists".]

June 27, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At least 31 members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM) -- including member of parliament Dr Michael Jeyakumar -- have been detained by police. The Malaysian government is whipping up a massive red-scare campaign around the Bersih 2.0 rally planned for July 9 (see statement below), and is increasingly resorting to repression to try to prevent an expected huge attendance.

Philippines socialists call for negotiated settlement to Spratly Islands dispute

For more background to the Spratly Islands issue, see "China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?"

* * *

June 10, 2011 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines) condemns any actions that increase military tensions in the region and contribute to a regional military conflict, by countries that lay claim to the Spratly Islands. We are opposed to any sabre-rattling and stand for a negotiated, political settlement of the disputed claims to the area. Therefore we deplore China’s strong-arm tactics and bullying, which undermines efforts towards a peaceful, political settlement, of the disputed claims.

The Spratly Islands, less than four-square kilometres of land area spread over 425,000 square kilometres of sea and usually submerged, probably have strategic importance fuelling the numerous territorial disputes. The area holds significant reserves of oil and natural gas: reportedly some 17.7 billion tons of oil and natural gas reserves, larger than the 13 billion tons held by Kuwait, thus making it the fourth largest reserve bed in the world. In an energy hungry world, these reserves intensify the disputed claims over the area.

Malaysian and Australian socialists: `Refugees are not commodities! No outsourcing refugee obligations to Malaysia!'

Joint statement of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

May 18, 2011 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the Socialist Alliance in Australia denounce the recent agreement made between the governments of Malaysia and Australia, whereby Australia will send 800 asylum seekers who have been detained by Australian authorities to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 refugees currently in Malaysia.

The arrangement for this “Malaysian solution” to asylum seekers attempting to arrive in Australia clearly shows that the Australian government is washing its hands of its responsibility to protect refugees and is “off-shoring” or “outsourcing” the violation of refugee rights to Malaysia, a country with no proper legal instruments to protect the rights of refugees. Both the governments of Malaysia and Australia have not taken the plight of refugees and asylum seekers seriously, and only treat them like trade-able commodities.

Malaysian socialists: No to Australia's outsourcing of the violation of refugee rights to Malaysia

May 12, 2011 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) denounces the recent agreement made between the governments of Malaysia and Australia, whereby Australia will send 800 asylum seekers who have been detained by Australian authorities to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 refugees currently in Malaysia.

The arrangement for this “Malaysian solution” to asylum seekers attempting to arrive in Australia clearly shows that the Australian government is washing its hands off its responsibility to protect refugees and is “off-shoring” or “outsourcing” the violation of refugees' rights to Malaysia, a country with no proper legal instruments to protect the rights of refugees.

Both the governments of Malaysia and Australia have not taken the plight of refugees and asylum seekers seriously, and only treat them like tradeable commodities.

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