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.
The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) Socialism 2016 conference, held over November 25-27, featured solidarity with Maria Chin, chairperson of the Bersih anti-government movement who was being held in solitary confinement under the anti-democratic Security Operations Special Measures Act.
A special candle light vigil was held before the solidarity night which opened the conference. Chin was released on November 28 after 10 days in detention.
The statement below was released by socialist groups from around the Asia-Pacific region on December 1 to coincide with protests across Indonesia and elsewhere in solidarity with West Papua’s struggle for freedom.
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We, the undersigned organisations, express our support to the struggle of the people of West Papua for self-determination.
December 1 marks the West Papua’s Independence Day for Papuans when the Morning Star flag was raised in 1961 before annexed by Indonesia. The flag symbolised the aspiration of many Papuans for a Free West Papua.
Burma: ‘Stop violence against the Rohingya’
The Rohingya are an ethnic group facing extreme persecution in Burma (Myanmar). Australia has been criticised for failing to accept Rohingya asylum seekers as refugees.
The statement below was released on October 18 by 35 groups in Malaysia and the Asian region, including human rights groups and political parties such as the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM).
Malaysian human rights group SUARAM says that several members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and other human rights activists were subjected to arbitrary arrests simply for attending a peaceful candlelight vigil in the city of Johor Baru on January 10.
The vigil was called to protest the second-time arrest on remand of PSM Central Committee member Khairul Nizam (also known as Aduka Taruna).
An international campaign has been launched to call for the release of Khalid Mohd Ismath, a Malaysian student activist and a member of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), who has been detained since October 7.
Khalid has been active in highlighting human rights violations and misuse of power by the authorities in Malaysia. He was arrested on October 7 under the Malaysian Multimedia and Communications Act 1998 for allegedly posting offensive comments on social media.
Malaysian democracy activists estimate that between 300,000 and half a million people peacefully took to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur for 34 hours from August 29 to 30. This is much larger than the previous mobilisations by the BERSIH (literally meaning “clean”) movement for free and fair elections.
Bersih 3.0 mass protest for democracy in Kuala Lumpar, April 2012.
Malaysian police have arrested Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, formal President of Malaysian Bar Council Ambiga Sreenevasan and member of parliament for Seremban Anthony Loke at a May Day demonstration on May 1.
The arrests are part of the recent wave of crackdown on anti-GST (anti-poor goods and services tax) and aim to further curtail dissent in the country.
Another 29 young people were arrested soon after the May Day rally. More people have been call to report themselves to the police otherwise will be subjected to arrest.
Update: All the Malaysian anti-GST protesters who were detained on Monday have now been released on RM3,000 bail. They are to appear in court again on May 14. Thanks for all the protest letters!
Police used excessive force in the recent crackdown on protesters against the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is scheduled to be implemented on April 1.