The Pakatan Harapan-PSM dilemma

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I have always wondered why Pakatan Rakyat and then Pakatan Harapan were so ready to embrace fledgling parties like Bersatu and Amanah – but then kept the long established Parti Sosialis Malaysia at arm’s length.

Now, PSM is a party with a committed and proven track record at the grassroots level, championing people-centred causes and especially the rights of marginalised communities such as plantation workers, factory workers, Orang Asli.

They have consistently punched above their weight as symbolised by their clenched fist logo. Its political activists are tenacious, determined and courageous – none more so than its member of Parliament for Sungai Siput, Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, one of the most principled politicians around.

The PSM 6 with their lawyers – (from left) Chon Kai, lawyers Karen Lai and CV Prabhakaran, Jeyakumar, Saras, Sugu, Letcu, lawyer Agatha Foo and Babu

Kumar is our guest writer for today:

The day after

With the 2018 general election approaching there are many Malaysians, especially urbanites, who feel that a change of government is at hand.

Several among them have urged the Parti Sosialis Malaysia not to “create three-corner contests” but to take stock of the big picture and go along with the Pakatan Harapan. This would mean standing down all PSM candidates except for me: I alone would be allowed by PH to contest Sungai Siput under the PKR logo.

To our friends and supporters who urge this course of action, I would like to point out three facts.

Three-corner contests not PSM’s doing

The first is that the three-corner scenario has been foisted upon us by the Pakatan Harapan itself as they went ahead and apportioned all the seats in the Peninsula among themselves. The PSM, which has indicated since 2011 that we wished to work with the Pakatan Rakyat (as they were then) to bring a change in government, was never invited to any seat negotiations. As a result, wherever we stand in the Peninsula, there will be a three-corner situation. But is it fair to say that the PSM has “created” these?

What happens to Reformasi agenda after general election?

The second point is even more important: what happens to the Reformasi agenda in the aftermath of the coming general election – the day after, and two years on. This is, I think, the even bigger picture that people who want genuine change must take into account. Can the Pakatan Harapan, which is making a number of tactical compromises, be in a good position to oversee the reform agenda, or do we need other political parties around to help push that forward? Reading the PH manifesto might give some clues:

  • There is no mention of local council elections
  • They seem to be backing away from free education at varsity level
  • Ethnic-based policy pitches seem to be making a comeback
  • Several of their economic policies have a strong neoliberal flavour
READ MORE:  Pakatan Harapan unveils manifesto

Now don’t get me wrong – the PSM is calling on the people of Malaysia to support Pakatan Harapan in the coming general election (except in the few seats that the PSM is standing – at this point, five out of 222 parliamentary seats and 11 out of 535 state seats). Pakatan Harapan is the better of the two alternatives available at present.

But the question that Malaysians who want to see politics moving in a healthier direction need to ask themselves is, will Pakatan Harapan be able to deliver what we hope for, on their own?

Or is there a need for a party like the PSM that keeps reminding all of us that:

– poverty in Malaysia cannot be comprehensively tackled without addressing the massive transfer of profits out by the 500 richest multinational corporations which control the “global chains”.

– we need to call out the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which would like us all to believe that poverty in developing countries is due to our low “productivity”. We are the only political party in Malaysia that is pointing out there is a problem with how the productivity of our workers is measured. Consider that the selling price of an electronic chip produced in Bayan Lepas is about a fifth of the selling price of an identical chip produced in California. Based on the current formula, the “productivity” of the Californian worker is five times that of our worker – for the same product and the same volume of output! The oligopolistic position of the multinational corporations enables them to suppress the prices of good that they subcontract out to us and other Third World countries. So the root problem is not productivity but the excessive market power of the biggest multinational corporations.

READ MORE:  Back to the future in Penang - 10 years after March the 8th

– we need to counter the perception that liberalising the economy and giving more scope to businesses is the best way to tackle bureaucracy and inefficiencies in the public sector. We believe that such an approach would tend to push costs up and further marginalise the bottom 80% of the population.

– increasingly, the richest business groups in Malaysia have great influence over the political process in the country as they fund both sides of the political divide. Our democracy is being undermined by massive political funding by the business elites. The PSM has been calling for public funding for political parties, and we have suggested mechanisms for doing this in a way that enhances the people’s influence.

– there are concrete reasons why the rural Malays are apprehensive about regime change. We have been studying the rural economy for the past few years to ascertain why rural poverty persists despite the billions of ringgit the government has thrown at it. We have the framework of a programme to address this problem – a programme that has great potential to allay the fears of the rural Malay voters and get them to support our reform agenda.

– political leaders have to be more accountable regarding their wealth accumulation. We advocate that those who want to amass wealth should choose some other profession and not come into politics and rip off the people.

– populist policies like toll-free highways, lower prices for cars and cheaper petrol are not the way to go. Concern for the environment cannot be limited to speeches on Earth Day! We need to cut our carbon footprint – we should use economic incentives to shift to public transport and develop more electric-powered vehicles while working on electricity generation from renewable energy.

– automation and artificial intelligence should be a boon for humankind and not a cause of unemployment and gloom. The rapidly increasing productivity of our global economy means that we all do not need to work 12 hours a day to make ends meet. But at present, those who can’t find work can’t consume; it is painful both for them and the global economy as aggregate demand will remain sluggish if people do not consume. The solution, as we see it, is a massive increase in the hourly wage rate coupled with a 32-hour working week – so people will be able to get a living wage for working less, and all families will have work, and businesses will have adequate markets to sell to. We all will then have more time for ourselves, our families, the community, religion, the arts sports etc – the full flowering of human potential. I doubt if any other party in Malaysia has a similar vision of a better society if we could order our economy on the basis of social solidarity and not the avariciousness of the Forbes 500.

READ MORE:  Peninsula Pakatan seat allocations in 2013 vs 2018

People might say we are deluded, but we in the PSM really believe that we have a great deal to contribute to the political process in Malaysia – and I haven’t yet touched on the commitment and selflessness of our frontline activists who stand each day with the marginalised groups in our society. That is why we will not quietly “close shop” and retreat to the sidelines of politics.

A touch of arrogance

We remain committed to bring regime change – and we agree that at this point in time, only the Pakatan Harapan is big enough to do this. We are prepared to work with them. We would be quite prepared to compromise and stand down half the seats that we are preparing to stand in – if we are given the remainder as 1:1 contests against the BN (ie the PH backs out of these). Which seats? – that can be settled through discussions, and we called for these more than 24 months ago. Only now, at the 11th hour are representatives from the PH reaching out to us. We have replied that we are ready to meet as soon as possible.

I would like to appeal to all Malaysians who support Pakatan Harapan – you too have a role to play in the resolution of this problem. Tell your Pakatan Harapan leaders to deal fairly with the PSM; convince them that the PSM can add value to the reform movement. Sometimes (and this is the third point I want to raise), it is your uncritical support for them that leads to a touch of arrogance in the way they deal with others!

Jeyakumar Devaraj

 

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BhaskalshriekAnil NettoPolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)Shriek Recent comment authors
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Romeo
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Romeo

#Bina Harapan: Reformasi Institusi Mesti Dilaksanakan

Ho Wan Lai
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Ho Wan Lai

Perhaps Anil can be an influencer for PSM to be relevant on Penang Island as Anil is now more visible to the public?

tunglang
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tunglang

Anil, give PSM a moral support as it has some similar concerns for the public welfare & fragile environment as your mighty river of justice. Like the Amazon River, it has a long winding path to flow thro’ the jungle of survival of the most enriched & cunning before it reaches the point of good for all & for the nation. As we have seen, the political-corporate tango is one of the venoms of social class split & disparity of income & wealth in the excuses of neo-liberalism rainbows, which lead the masses to greed, selfishness & even crimes in… Read more »

Rasyid
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Rasyid

Parti Bersatu deregistered! This will trigger a Malay Tsunami?

Norman
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Norman

Deregistration, redelineation and anti-fake news law is an attack on everyone’s democratic choices and rights, and therefore every voter must prevent such things happening through the ballot box.

ravicristal
Guest

PSM IS NGO’S

Romeo
Guest
Romeo

Frequent government critic Kee Thuan Chye has alleged that Barisan Nasional will stop at nothing to ensure its perpetual hold on power if it wins the 14th general election with a two-third majority in parliament. Speaking to FMT during a fundraising dinner hosted by Petaling Jaya DAP, the veteran journalist and theatre enthusiast warned of increased repression of rights, especially the right to free expression. “People had better be aware of that,” he said. “If BN gets its two thirds, that’s the end of Malaysia. It will bulldoze through anything it wants and the only reforms we’re going to see… Read more »

Mah HS
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Mah HS

MIC president S Subramaniam estimated that “at least” 6% of Indian Malaysians are behind BN, a higher proportion than other ethnic groups.

Why so, Mr Anil?

How could PSM counter this to gain the Indian votes?

Mah HS
Guest
Mah HS

Typo error, it should be 65%.what do you think?

Bhaskal
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Bhaskal

Say no to MIC!

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
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PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

To add, PSM’s policy of calling for support of the lesser evil originates from the call in 1920 by Lenin for British socialists and communists to support the Labour Party in its bid to win power through parliamentary elections. Lenin outlined this in his pamphlet “Left-Wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/lwc/ch09.htm The British socialists and communists at the time advocated refusal to compromise with the Labour Party, albeit a workers with capitalist and pro-imperialist ideology and instead that the lefts maintain their ideological purity and continue to directly fight for communism. Lenin called this attitude “infantile” and idealistic, since the… Read more »

shriek
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shriek

When did you fight for the workers for better pay?

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest
PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

When I was a member of my union branch committee back around 1999 and 2000.

shriek
Guest
shriek

You foughr for the office boy, cleaner, ma che to get pay rise or as committee member you take advantage of the perks given. No wonder our paul lowie learns a few tips from you as a minister

Bhaskal
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Bhaskal

Using less employees. 3 persons do the current 5 persons duties, productivity gain means higher pay. Malaysians too relaxed.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
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PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

I don’t know how PSM can expect the Pakatan to be a better government than the BN in terms of the policies it hopes to get implemented either in part or in full, given that many Pakatan politicians and supporters favour neoliberal policies often even more so than the BN. Have Pakatan run state governments implemented any policies advocated by PSM in the 10 years of their rule? Instead, they have relied on the PSM to get them into power then sidelined PSM and NGOs In 2012, I joined a protest against the FTA organised by the PSM and attended… Read more »

shriek
Guest
shriek

So you support fake news act to limit speech’? In fact, we should orso limit IT and internet as it is more freer than free trade. Why you are deep silent no protest when chinese bought over GLC proton? Orso no protest when china comes in and built forest next to JB and bringing more chinese to cut cross a third of malaya?

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
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PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

Proton has been a burden on Malaysian taxpayers and car buyers in all its years of existence. It has not worked out, so I think it is time to say enough is enough and let it go altogether and let someone else have it, as long as the workers still have their jobs.

As for Forest City, I’m not too sure about its commercial viability.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest
PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

BTW. Where did I say that I support the fake news act?

shriek
Guest
shriek

No need to say. Action. No action in protesting and join other in the protest.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
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PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

And Oh! I should spend less time on the Internet because it of full of scheiss.

http://itsheiss.blogspot.my/

shriek
Guest
shriek

You sleep when chinese investors dump money to buy some areas in johor? Another blind bAt and no protest when when dummo ask foreigners to dump and build ecrl using mainly their own workers. After sending your kid to chinese still not good enough to the chinamen

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest
PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

The ECRL will bring economic benefits, including business and job opportunities to the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia and chambers of commerce on the east coast favour it.

shriek
Guest
shriek

As usual, earlier settlers think everything is free? Even all earlier settlers have to pay GST. Rulers orso gave to pay GST. So you very happy that chinamen no need to pay gst jn the ercl

Mah HS
Guest
Mah HS

The China firm doing ECRL gets GST relief!

But we have to pay GST!

Mah HS
Guest
Mah HS

The “Lone Ranger” two-term Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu will officially leave DAP on Sunday.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/04/07/lone-ranger-teh-yee-cheu-set-to-leave-dap/#vRuuMaehtyYdRyL9.99

He is smart not to quit early in order to secure full pension of serving 2 full term as MP. So much for idealism and principle.

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest
PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

Or is Teh being principled by serving the full term with the party he was in when elected by the voters before leaving in dignity at the end of the term, unlike the “frogs” who jump party mid-stream? Some people may vote for the individual, whilst most would vote for the party, so to change party mid-term is a betrayal of the voters who voted for the party or quit early. Like a responsible employee, Teh served his notice of resignation, even though he could have jumped ship If an elected representative in the UK jumps ship to another party… Read more »

Mah HS
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Mah HS

Teh Yee Cheu, is expected to stand against a former DAP comrade in Sungai Pinang in GE14, as a PSM candidate.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/04/09/lone-ranger-teh-to-stand-in-sg-pinang-after-quitting-dap/#fEeQQoKmICiFLR9f.99

Anil can conduct an exclusive interview with Teh?

shriek
Guest
shriek

What responsible employee? It is better for him to leave early after telling the intention. Why hang around as the heart and struggle is not there? Luckily it is the responsible employer did not ask him to hand the resignation letter early, but sensing the intention to resign, still want him to work for the party’? Afterall, work or not work, his adun salary is oredi paid by tax payers

shriek
Guest
shriek

Lucky ah teh hss good employer and did not force him to resign early. . Is’nt it the rocket cares for the worker? If you are the boss and one worker complain about you and your company and said he will resign in 3 to 4 months, you still dedak to allow him to stay and still think he has the heart and zeal to work? Ah teh need not to work as hs is oredi paid by taxpayers. He get this job not using his own name but rocket ‘s name

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

It is a battle between the good n the bad. Not the western movie including the ugly. For 60 years of dummo, not enough? Psm wants to be ugly and continue to perpetuate dummo in power? Socialism is too far ahead of the situation. We are still grappled with mismanagement, race and religion. Dummo is so dividesive. How united we are as compare to singland? So why 3 corner fight? Okay Ah soon, engineer and ah ka vin must have hook into the secret ingredient of kfc finger licking good of dummo? Maybe they have the chance of eating drumsticks… Read more »

Ma jiji
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Ma jiji

Now ! Does DAP has a “Logo” ?

Billie Cduk
Guest
Billie Cduk

PSM Allow me to share my humble opinion. Much as I agree to some of your viewpoints and whole heartedly support the ideologies promoted I beg to remind that our electorate by majority are still immature to grasp your key pertinent points. Urbanites are very conversant on those issues but sadly in politics one need to dance to the tune that wins the competition. Malaysia and Malaysians I believe will get there eventually with political maturity but frankly for GE14 I see it to be simple bread and butter issues….the lesser of two evils. Arrogance will always be with the… Read more »

PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)
Guest
PolitiScheiss (a.k.a. IT.Scheiss)

Leftists parties do not fare well in elections anywhere and often end up winning a few seats at most and so do their bitter enemy on the right. Case in point being the KKE and Golden Dawn in Greece.

Only when the situation gets so bad for the people who reject the centre-left and centre-right parties which they had so far elected that parties on the left and right gain and may even win, such as Syriza in Greece and the rightist parties which have made gains in Austria and Italy, and Trump in the U.S.

Mah HS
Guest
Mah HS

Sadly, too idealistic and not practical in Bolehland.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Gandhi was idealistic + spicy & the British were eventually kicked out of India. No need of political donation from Arabs to do the job.

shriek
Guest
shriek

Ah pek must rated very highly of ah teh? Over how many % or under how many % of Gandhi? Why not compare to martin luther king? The blacks in alabama was very suppressed and segergated even in land of the free. They have no right to vote and better jobs. There are reserved places for whites only even though the civil war was foughf and won 200 years ago