Malaysia

Police descended on the house of Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary general S Arutchelvan (Arul) in Kajang on February 19, arresting him under the Sedition Act.

We believe Arul has been arrested for his press statement on behalf of the PSM on opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy 2 guilty verdict. In the statement, Arul criticised the Federal Court judgement, saying the courts are not independent and are politically driven.

The following statement was released on February 10 by Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary general S. Arutchelvan after the conviction of opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges, in a show trial condemned by international legal observers.

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Parti Sosialis Malaysia is appalled with the disgraceful Judgement by the highest court in the nation on Anwar’s “Sodomy II” case.

Malaysia is still reeling from the impact of the worse monsoonal flooding in decades over December and early January. Five people have been killed and the number of people displaced has exceeded the previous record of 100,000 in the 2008 monsoonal season. Ordinary people responded quickly and generously to the floods and civil society groups and individuals pulled together relief campaigns while the government response was slow.

About 500 Chinese farmers in the state of Perak, in northern Malaysia, with the support of the Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) are resisting attempted evictions from land they have occupied for more than 40 years.

Sixteen concerned residents of Kuantan travelled all the way from Malaysia to Sydney to protest at the November 28 shareholders' annual general meeting of an Australian rare earth mining and refining company.

Lynas Corporation's toxic refinery in the outskirts of Kuantan (population 700,000) on Malaysia's east coast is deeply unpopular with local residents and other concerned Malaysians who, together with Australian supporters, have mounted protests in Sydney at the past four AGMs.

Australian-based organisation Stop Lynas released a paper on August 28 criticising Australian rare earths company Lynas for operating without a social licence in Malaysia. The paper has been submitted to Lynas for response.

The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) said it was disgusted at the mentality of the Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who decided to forcefully evict soup kitchens in Kuala Lumpar that have been feeding the poor and homeless for years.

The minister insisted that soup kitchens in Kuala Lumpur had just days to relocate out of the city centre if they did not want to be fined by City Hall. He was also quoted as saying:“The image of my city is very bad. If I don’t do this sort of thing, society won’t be disciplined.”

Australian environmental and international solidarity campaigner Natalie Lowrey was arrested and detained for six days in Kuantan, Malaysia for standing with Malaysian activists campaigning against Australian company Lynas Corp's toxic rare earth refinery near that city.

At a peaceful protest of more than 1000 people outside the Lynas plant on June 22, 16 protesters were arrested and a number were injured by police, one very severely. Lowrey was released with no charge on June 27, the other 15 protesters faced court on July 8 on a variety of charges. She has since returned to Australia.

We are currently in Malaysia standing in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who vehemently oppose Australian rare earth miner, Lynas Corporation and their highly toxic and radioactive rare earth refinery plant near this city of 600,000 people.

This year's May Day rally in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur was the biggest in the country since independence in 1957.

Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle spoke to S. Arutchelvan (Arul), the secretary general of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and a spokesperson for the May 1 Committee.

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