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Malaysia

The ‘Asian Century’ and ASEAN integration: contradictions and challenges (now with video)

Video from Green Left TV.

[The following talk was presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa-Philippines (Party of the Labouring Masses), during the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, Australia on June 7, 2014.]

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was travelling from Manila, coming here to Australia, I bought a copy of a pocketbook that I could read in the plane. It was Dan Brown’s novel entitled Inferno. Actually, when the hardbound copy of this book first hit the bookshops, the Philippines went crazy about a small part of the novel which referred to Manila as the “gate of hell”.

After reading the book, it occurred to me that what the novel said about Manila was true. It was the most densely populated city on Earth, with huge traffic jams, suffocating pollution, houses made of corrugated metal and cardboards, communities reeking of stench, and horrifying sex trade and trafficking of women, girls and children.

I was reminded of Dan Brown’s novel today because, despite the inferno that is Manila now, our government is talking about a paradise that will be built in the Philippines during this "Asian Century".

The 'Asian Century"

Behind Malaysia's biggest May Day rally since independence

S. Arutchelvan (Arul), secretary general the Socialist Party of Malaysia.

By Peter Boyle

May 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The 2014 May Day rally in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, was the biggest in the country since 1947 when the British colonial authorities violently repressed the labour movement, which had become one of the most strongly organised in Asia, having organised the majority of the workforce.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal spoke to S. Arutchelvan (Arul), secretary general the Socialist Party of Malaysia. He was also spokesperson for the May 1 Committee. Arul will be one of the international guest speaker in the People's Power in the “Asian Century” seminar to be held in conjunction with the 10th national conference of the Socialist Alliance, in Sydney June 7-9, 2014.

For more details of the Socialist Alliance conference and to register see HERE.

For more on the Socialist Party of Malaysia, click HERE.

* * *

The May Day protest in Kuala Lumpur looked very big? What is your estimate of the size and was this the biggest ever May day?

Malaysia: Socialists to form Left Coalition 'to bring back class politics'

PSM secretary general S. Arutchelvan.

By Chen Shaua Fui, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

February 13, 2014 -- fz.com -- The Parti Sosialis Malaysia (Socialist Party of Malaysia, PSM), together with some other groups and individuals, is forming a body called Left Coalition to bring class politics to Malaysia..

PSM secretary general S. Arutchelvan said it is looking at forming the coalition with Parti Rakyat Malaysia, Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia and other activists and individuals.

"We are trying to bring back class politics. We feel the younger generations are actually more receptive to more radical and progressive ideologies... The 1969 (May 13) racial riot and the Cold War have not corrupted their minds. They don’t have this fear of communism because they live in a different era. And when the government said communism is evil, there were a lot of counter arguments in the social media. We think it’s the time for the left to grow”, he told fz.com.

An astute observer of Malaysian politics, Arutchelvan felt that after 1969 and the implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP), Malaysian politics had moved from class politics based on left or right ideologies to racial and religious politics.

Malaysia: PSM members win RM200,000 settlement in false imprisonment case

Celebrations following the release of the EO6. Ex-detainee Choo Chon Kai in centre. Photo by Alex Cheong.

October 8, 2013 -- From reports in the Malaysian press -- The Malaysia government has agreed to pay six Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM) members RM200,000 (approx. US$63,000) following the settlement of the lawsuit filed for false imprisonment at the High Court.

The six were detained in a bus on June 25, 2011, on charges of treason and were released on July 2 when their remand period expired. They were re-arrested under the (now repealed) Emergency Ordinance (EO) and freed 27 days later on July 29.

The detentions resulted in an international solidarity campaign.The detainees became known as the EO6. The PSM credits this solidarity campaign for their comrades' release.

Prime Minister Najib Razak's government scrapped the Emergency Ordinance and other tough security laws in December 2011 following criticism that they were abused to silence dissent. 

Malaysia: Kampong Hakka -– when 100 years of community residence does not matter

By S. Arutcheclvan, general-secretary, Socialist Party of Malaysia

October 3, 2013 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The first Monday of every October is designated by the United Nations as World Habitat Day. The main purpose to celebrate this date is to reflect on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. The UN has dedicated one day to highlight the plight of people fighting for shelter as it seems that the right to a home is one of the most fundamental human rights. With this, let me argue the case of kampong Hakka in Mantin, Negeri Sembilan.

When I first stepped into kampong Hakka a year ago, I was amazed that a Chinese new village complete with temple, community hall and school existed in this village and I was further shocked to learn that all the people living there have been declared illegals just because some rich company has bought their land.

When I looked at the structure of their homes and their lifestyle, I was convinced that these villagers have a history to talk about. They have lived here for many decades. Most of the villagers were elderly people as their children had left to more urban town centres. Their economic activity varies, with most of them being petty traders and self-employed.

Malaysia: Urgent protest needed -- Socialist leader and 11 other activists detained in anti-eviction struggle

Socialist Party of Malaysia's general secretary S. Arutchelvan being arrested.

October 1, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Please spread the news that the Socialist Party of Malaysia's general secretary S. Arutchelvan (Arul) and 11 other protesters have been detained. Please contact the Mantin Police Station to question the arrests and demand the release of those detained.

Call chief inspector Rashid on 0675812222 to demand their release. Please email solidarity messages to int.psm@gmail.com.

Call 12 orang termasuk Arul ditahan polis kerana pertahan pemaju roboh Kg. Hakka, Mantin.

* * *

On September 30, 2013, in their effort to stop developers from demolishing Kampung Hakka Mantin, five residents and seven activists were arrested by police. It is also reported that one resident was injured during the commotion. Among those picked up was Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan.

Around 90 residents and activists gathered at the village in Negri Sembilan, attempting to negotiate with the developer, police and court representative, who came to demolish the houses. The negotiation broke down at 11.20 am, and the authorities proceeded to detain those trying to stop the demolition.

Malaysia: Chin Peng 'a determined, resourceful anti-colonial and anti-imperialist fighter'

Chin Peng holds up page one of The Straits Times newspaper of

By Choo Chon Kai, International Bureau, Socialist Party of Malaysia/Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

September 17, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is deeply saddened over the passing of Chin Peng, secretary-general of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). We would like to express our condolences to Chin Peng’s family and his comrades in the CPM.

Chin Peng was a determined, resourceful anti-colonial and anti-imperialist fighter who led the heroic struggle against the Japanese occupation and British colonisation of Malaya. He played a significant role in the national liberation struggle of Malaya and he definitely has his place in the history of the independence of our country.

Malaysian socialists oppose Pacific free trade agreement

Anti-TPPA protest outside Malaysia's parliament on July 16.

The statement below was released by the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) on July 10, 2013.

* * *

The PSM is deeply concerned about the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) free trade agreement. The 18th round is to commence in Kota Kinabalu in east Malaysia from July 15 until July 25.

Since its first inception as the United States-Malaysia bilateral Free Trade Agreement in 2006, the PSM has consistently protested the decision of the Malaysian government to enter into such negotiations. It was very clear since then, that the FTA is part of the agenda of US corporations to expand and control trade in the region.

Having failed to impose their interests via the World Trade Organisation, US corporations quickly lobbied Congress to start bilateral agreements with the countries in Asia.

Threatened by the growing economies of China and India, the US and European Union are competing to control trade for their respective interests. It is another form of imperialism that will negate our national sovereignty.

Now, after the fast track to negotiate the FTA during the Bush administration expired in 2007, the TPPA is a renewed approach for the same goals. TPPA is FTA on steroids.

Malaysia: Mass rallies continue against election 'robbers' (+photo story)

Popular PSM leader Arul at May 25 "Voice of the People 505" rally at Dataran Petaling Jaya. Photo by Keow Wee Loong.

By Peter Boyle, photos by Keow Wee Loong

May 31, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Mass rallies protesting the "robbery" of the May 5 Malaysian general election have continued for weeks despite government threats and the arrests of six prominent opposition activists on "sedition" charges. The fact that the corruptly entrenched Barisan Nasional coalition "won" 60% of the parliamentary seats with just 47% of the official vote and the many reports of blatant vote-buying and cheating, has created an ongoing legitimacy crisis.

Rumours of an impending internal party challenge to the leadership of PM Najib Razak in the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO), the dominant party in BN, have added to this crisis.

Malaysia: Urgent action needed for release of student activist Adam Adli

By Nalini Elumalai, executive director, SUARAM

May 21, 2013 -- Malaysia's human rights organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) requests your urgent intervention in the detention of Adam Adli (pictured above), student activist from Malaysia. SUARAM is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

Brief description of the situation:

SUARAM condemns the arbitrary and unlawful detention of Student Activist, Adam Adli under the Section 4 of the Sedition Act[1] which prohibiting discourse deemed as seditious and if found guilty under the act, Adam could be jailed for up to three years, fined not more than RM5000, or both.

Malaysia: 120,000 protest fraudulent election (+ photos)

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.

Malaysia: For a united opposition to Barisan Nasional election fraud

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.

Malaysia: 'Ini kalilah' -- Socialists seek opposition cooperation to defeat Barisan Nasional regime

Socialist Party of  Malaysia's secretary-general S. Arutchelvan (“Arul”, third from left) is running for the Selangor state assembly seat.

By Peter Boyle

April 29, 2013 --  Green Left Weekly -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is contesting four seats in the May 5 general elections, one federal parliamentary seat and three state assembly seats.

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.

Socialist Party of Malaysia's 2013 general election manifesto: Enough! Reject 56 years of UMNO-BN

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.

Malaysian socialist MP: 'Socialism and democracy are indivisible!'

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.

Malaysia: One year after activists' release, questions remain unanswered

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.

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.

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