If lawyers are coming to the street, then something is very wrong, Ambiga Sreenevasan, the Malaysian Bar Councils president, said on September 26 when she addressed bar members gathered at the Palace of Justice.
From June 1-3 in Port Dickson, the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) held its ninth congress. It was the partys largest so far. The PSMs plans for the coming year include trying to win at least one seat in the coming election, holding a public forum on Venezuela, redesigning the partys website, producing more socialist booklets and holding a national forum on 50 years of Malaysian independence and left politics. The party also resolved to hold an international conference in 2008. A resolution adopted by the conference condemned authorities refusal to nationally register the PSM as a party as an anti-socialist political conspiracy. Solidarity messages were received from a range of socialist organisations, including Australias Democratic Socialist Perspective.
In 2001, more than 30 workers over 50 years of age were suddenly given 24-hour termination notices by their employer, Guppy Plastic Industries Sdn Bhd. The workers were then told they could return later when they would be offered contract jobs. The chairperson of the workers union described the move as a dirty tactic to make the women contract workers, to further maximise the companys profits at the expense of the workers. The 50-year retirement age for women workers is below the normal standard and is different to the companys retirement policy for male workers. On May 15, nine of the sacked workers took the case to the industrial court, seeking back pay, compensation for loss of income and redundancy payments.
Around 150 urban settlers from 20 settlements in Perak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur gathered on October 2 at the housing ministry to mark World Habitat Day and demand the ministry cease issuing eviction notices against them. Many of the settlements are threatened with forcible eviction by developers and local authorities without any fair compensation or alternative housing. Eventually the ministrys director agreed to arrange an appointment between a protest delegation and the housing minister. Photos from ><http://parti-sosialis.org>.