After a week of political crisis, betrayals and rapidly shifting alliances, former MP and Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) chairperson Jeyakumar Devaraj shares some reflections with Green Left's Peter Boyle.
The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), several other trade unions and the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) have slammed as “humiliating” and “beggarly” the new Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) federal government's announcement that it would increase the country's minimum wage by just RM50 (A$17) a month to RM1050 ($350) from January 2019.
Unions are considering calling a mass workers' protest.
Back in 1999, Tian Chua was one of the leaders of the Reformasi movement in Malaysia who was arrested and beaten up after mass protests against then National Front government of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
But today he is vice-president of the Peoples Justice Party (PKR), the largest party in the new Alliance of Hope (Pakatan Harapan) government whose PM is the same Mahathir.
During a recent speaking tour of Australia, which coincided with Malaysian Independence Day celebrations, Tian Chua spoke about his new relationship with his former jailer.
Malaysia’s May 9 general elections caused a shock upset, with the Barisan Nasional (BN) losing control of the government for the first time since independence in 1957. This was a historic win for the opposition against the corrupt, authoritarian ruling party.
Riding the crest of a powerful Bersih (“clean”) democracy movement in the streets, Malaysia’s Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) opposition alliance won 53% of the popular vote in the 2013 general election. Gerrymandered electorates, however, ensured they took only 40% of the seats.
Yet as a new general election approaches, likely early next year, the incumbent Barisan Nasional (National Front, BN) government looks set to easily hold on the power.