Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Malaysia: Socialist Party celebrates legal recognition

By Letchimi Devi, PSM via ASAP
Kuala Lumpur, 19 October 2008: "If we want workers to survive then we must build socialism". A simple remark that illustrates the true purpose of socialism uttered by a farmer in his few words today, captivated me the most. He was one of the speakers from Perak who took part in a victory celebration organised by Party Socialist Malaysia (PSM) st the Selangor State level. 19 August 2008 was the day Registrar of Society signed the license for PSM to operate legally in Malaysia. It took 10 long years of struggle for PSM to get that piece of paper. It was a historic victory!

A modest celebration was organised today, 19 Oct 2008, to thank the grassroots, civil societies, individuals and political parties who have fought along PSM to get the party registered. In spite of the bad weather, around 800 people attended the event that was held at Girl Guide's Hall, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
PSM leaders with party registration certificate
The function was further honoured with the presence of Lim Kit Siang, the paramount leader of DAP [Democratic Action Party] and former Opposition leader, Teng Chang Khim The Speaker of Selangor State Assemble as well as one of PSM lawyers, Ishak Surin of PAS [Party Islam] who is also one of the founder member of Parti Rakyat in 1955, Hassan Karim, President of Parti Rakyat Malaysia and R.Sivarasa the Vice Chairperson of PKR [Justice Party] and MP for Subang, Theresa Kok of DAP, Monagar, Che Kamaruddin, Syed Ibrahim, AV. Kataiyah, K.Arumugam and many other leading leaders in the political and civil rights movement.
Their presence and solidarity was further enhanced by the many community and local leaders from various working class background.
The atmosphere and the spirit was red as the three main roads leading to the Assemble point at Brickfields were decorated with the PSM flags. . The hall itself was full of banners congratulating PSM over the victory! Light food was served throughout the function and there were many varieties sponsored by the many communities which PSM works with.
As in all PSM events, the program started with the singing of the Internationalle followed by a 20-minute slide show on the struggle for party registration. A very powerful welcoming address was then delivered by PSM Secretary General, Comrade Arutchelvan. In his speech Comrade Arul thanked all groups including PKR and DAP for allowing their logo to PSM candidates in 2004/2008 and 1999 national election, to the lawyers, NGOs and Community movements for fighting the Rights to Association, and most importantly the grassroots urban settlers, factory workers, plantation workers, that have stood affirm with PSM as well as the backbone of the Party all these years. He then touched on the left history in Malaysia and how they were brutally crashed with draconian laws including ISA. An act that continued to be excessively used and misused! He further reminded the audience that PSM has never ceased to work though it was not given registration for 10 years as the party was considered national threat by the ruling government. As such HINDRAF should feel proud for being called "illegal" as it is a form of recognition by the government of it's strength.
Then, [DAP leader] Lim Kit Siang took the stand with his commanding voice and authority.
The hall became packed as everyone who was having meals entered the hall to hear him speak. Kit Siang congratulated the Party and gave solidarity message on behalf of his party. He stressed the need for all political parties opposing the BN government to join effort to create a nation with socialist values as the driving power.
Comrade Segar who is also PSM CC member captured the entire audience with his Malay hit song titled "Socialism Returned to Malaysia". The day was boasted with many speeches and many solidarity messages. Grass root representatives and leaders spoke with many styles and among them were Comrade Chin Ko Youn of Perak Farmers Coalition (JERIT), Comrade Ang from Kg. Papan settlers, Comrade Rizana of Factory Workers Coalition (JERIT), Comrade Kannayah of Plantation Coalition and Comrade Santhana from PSM Youth Wing Section. Solidarity messages were also read out.
Comrade Ishak Surin, 75 years old, a socialist in PAS and the founding member of Parti Rakyat (PR) urged all left parties to support PRM to win a battle with the government that wants to cancel it's registration. "What is wrong in having more political parties, at least the entire nation would be properly represented?" said Ishak. President PRM, Hassan Karim also welcomed PSM, which is open to all races and embrace socialist ideology as an important contributing factor in Malaysian politics..
Ang an Urban settlers in his short speech said "I never expected that one day, I would go to Malay and Tamil urban settlers villages to fight for their rights, this is what PSM taught us". He said PSM resembles the thunder God.
State Assemblyman of Sg. Pinang, State Assembly Speaker, CC member of DAP, a lawyer and a very good friend of PSM – Comrade Teng in his speech said, 'for 13 years I did not become rich, thanks to PSM for giving me more and more forced eviction cases and among tehm he cited Sg. Nipah, Rimba Jaya, Barembang. The task helped me to be with the most oppressed group of people and I thank PSM for that too". He too stressed the similarity between DAP and PSM as a foundation to work together, "we both want freedom, peace, equality and solidarity – principles of socialism".
PKR vice president and the founder member of SUARAM, Comrade Sivarasa stated in his speech that PSM as a party that rejects sectarian or racial politics is an added strength to the national politics and he too wants to work with PSM on minimum program, "lets focus on the similarity between PKR and PSM".
Party chairman, Comrade Nasir Hashim, the sole socialist State Assemblyman in Selangor took the opportunity to thank all parties and the bases of PSM's strength – the grassroots for their continues support. He also read a poem on the Journey to socialism in English.
At about 10.45pm, Dr. Jeyakumar, PSM sole federal Memeber of Parliament led the remaining people to lit a candle at the road outside as a sign of protest. A group of about 200 people who remained lighted candles and together walked towards the main entrance of the hall. Syed Ibrahim, GMI chairperson gave a short message and end the program with high spirit "Abolish ISA…. Mansuhkan ISA".
The wet day did not dampen the spirit of socialism. PSM strength is its work and its relevance to the working class. The many lights which remained lighted after the event symbolizes the hope and the aspirations of an on-going struggle to redeem the dignity of the toiling masses and to put socialism back in the mainstream landscape of Malaysian politics.

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