Asia

Malaysia: Socialist leader arrested for 'sedition'

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.

Sri Lanka: Navy wages secret war on Tamil fisherfolk

Allegations made by south Indian Tamil fisherfolk against the recently deposed Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka reveal a trail of death and corruption.

They said 750 fisherfolk have been killed by the Sri Lankan navy since 1983. Eighty-four boats were seized in the past six months alone.

India: A tale of two power stations

The wave of social and environmental destruction sweeping India in the age of globalisation can be seen in the “development” being imposed on entire sections of small farmers, fishing communities, forest tribes and small artisans.

It can be gauged from two instances of attempts to build coal-fired power stations in sensitive ecological regions of coastal Andhra Pradesh, a state in south-east India.

Sri Lanka: New president wins amid discontent, repression

Maithripala Sirisena has taken office as president of Sri Lanka after winning the island's January 8 election. Sirisena won 51.28% of the vote, defeating incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who got 47.58%.

Seventeen other candidates won 1.14% of the votes between them.

Rajapaksa had been elected president in 2005 and re-elected in 2010. In his first term, he presided over the most brutal phase of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Malaysia: Socialists and civil society groups deliver aid following worst floods in decades

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.

Tamils call for new way in Sri Lanka

The statement below was released by the Tamil Refugee Council in Australia on January 9. The day before, opposition-backed presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena beat incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who oversaw war crimes and abuse of the human rights of Tamils and others in Sri Lanka.

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The Tamil Refugee Council urges the Australian government to use the change of leadership in Sri Lanka to push for a resolution to the country’s most pressing issue – the long-standing oppression and persecution of Tamils.

Sri Lanka: Tamils, leftists debate elections

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is being challenged by Maithripala Sirisena, who was until recently one of his ministers, in the January 8 presidential elections. However, many Tamils and leftists see little difference between the two.

Sirisena is being supported by the opposition United National Party, and has promised to appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe as prime minister. There are 16 other candidates.

Pakistan: Left accuse military of backing Islamists

In a statement condemning the “senseless and merciless slaughter of innocent school children” by by religious fanatics in Peshawar, Pakistan, the left-wing Awami Workers Party (AWP) accused the Pakistani state and military of complicity in “Islamist terrorism”.

A hundred and thirty-two students were killed in the December 16 suicide attack by the Pakistani Taliban on the the military-run Army Public School, AWP general secretary Farooq Tariq told Green Left Weekly.

Malaysia: Farmers launch anti-eviction campaign, turn to socialists for help

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.

Japan: New elections amid more economic gloom

Japan is the world’s third largest economy, Australia’s second largest export market, and third largest import market. It is also a country whose economy has been stagnant since the land market crash of 1990.

This stagnation, accompanied by a rise from 30% to 40% in the number of workers without permanent full-time jobs since 2002, validates the “stagnation thesis” that Keynes advanced in his 1836 book General Theory.

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