Sarah Hathway

This is the second part of an article on an exposure tour of Malaysia hosted by the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), in which five Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance members participated over January 15 to 26.

Part 1 was published in #1082 and can be found here. Part 3 will published in the next issue.

* * *

From January 15 to 26, five Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance members participated in an exposure tour of Malaysia, hosted by the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM).

Day 1: Arriving in Kuala Lumpur and Bersih rallies

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur late on Friday evening and stayed in dormitories that served as a training facility for the Catholic Church.

That night, PSM members told us about the Bersih rallies, which have been among the largest demonstrations to have taken place in Malaysia.

Young job seekers today are facing the toughest job market seen in Australia for more than 20 years. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, in September last year youth unemployment was 12.93%, after peaking at 14.43% in November 2014.

However, there are youth unemployment hotspots in the Northern Territory, Victorian suburbs, Adelaide, Cairns and North-West Tasmania with much higher rates.

As of December last year, anyone who is not an Australian citizen who has spent 12 months or more in jail can be deported at the discretion of the immigration department.

By September, 75 New Zealanders and Pacific Islanders were being detained on Christmas Island awaiting deportation.

In this nine-month period, 406 New Zealand citizens had their visas cancelled, 95 had been deported and up to 184 were being held in detention centres.

Khalid Ismath, a member of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), was arrested on October 7 and later charged under Malaysia's sedition and communication acts for posting allegedly offensive comments on social media.

He was initially denied bail over posts relating to the arrest of lawyer Kamal Hisham Jaafar, a former legal advisor to the Johor royal family. As of October 27, Khalid had been held in solitary confinement for 18 days. His lawyer had not been permitted to visit him.

Former police prosecutor Peter Murrihy is the new councillor for the Kildare ward after winning the recent by-election in the Greater Geelong Council. Murrihy defeated 10 other candidates to win the safe Liberal ward with 27.41% of the primary vote.

Although Murrihy said he was politically unaffiliated, he received preferences from Liberal Party member Trent Sullivan. Much was made in the local media of the fact that Murrihy put forward no political promises or commitments during his campaign.

Radical Ideas is a 3-day conference of discussion, debate and ideas for radical change, from December 4-6 in Sydney.

We are lucky to have a number of guest speakers confirmed so far, including well-known campaigners involved in various movements and Socialist Alliance and Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance activists.

A rally was held in Geelong on October 12 to protest mayor Darryn Lyons’ sexism.

Lyons was photographed at a local Octoberfest event on October 10 wearing a t-shirt featuring an image of a naked Madonna hitchhiking, taken from her 1992 book Sex, paired with the caption “Gas, grass or ass, no one rides for free”.

Fellow Geelong councillor Jan Farrell was the first to speak out about the photos. She posted on her Facebook page: “This is what passes for leadership at Geelong. As a woman who lives and works in Geelong I am beyond offended at [Lyons’] ongoing disrespect for women.”

Labor leader Bill Shorten’s October 5 “defence” of penalty rates so totally missed the mark that he was quickly on the receiving end of a backlash from his own party.

Shorten said that the extra income from penalty rates could be the difference between parents being able to send their children to private schools or not. What makes this even more embarrassing for Labor is that this was not a slip up due to an off-the-cuff comment. It was part of a prepared media statement.

Pages

Subscribe to Sarah Hathway