The Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) is contesting the Semenyih by-election in the state seat of Selangor on March 2.
Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM)
The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), respected as a small principled party that packs a big punch, is running its largest election campaign yet. Peter Boyle speaks to its campaign coordinator.
It is 2.34am in Malaysia and S. Arutchelvan (better known as “Arul”) is typing in answers to my questions on the PSM campaign in the country’s general election on May 9.
With general elections likely to be held in May, the left and democratic forces in Malaysia are discussing how to respond.
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.
Five Orang Asli (indigenous) activists from Gua Musang in Malaysia who were blockading forests from illegal logging operations were arrested on January 23.
Forestry officials from the state of Kelantan — which is governed by the opposition Islamic Party (PAS) — destroyed several Orang Asli blockades. This was despite the fact that on January 17 a magistrate court had cancelled the application by the logging company concerned and declared that Orang Asli have rights over their customary native land.
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.
* * *
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.
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.
Resistance members are currently taking part in a tour of Malaysia with the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM).
The tour has visited Buntong where the PSM has set up an after-school care program for children from poor families who work long shifts.
They also travelled to Pusing, a 100-year-old tin mining town where many farmers are engaged in a struggle for land rights against developers.