The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) will contest in the general
elections this November 29. PSM pro-tem secretary S. Arutchelvan
answers a few questions...
Nov 29 polls
1. Why are you contesting in the 1999 general election?
The people believe in the parliamentary election system and PSM feels that
it should not stay isolated or boycott the election but play a role during
the elections. Of course, PSM wants to put forward the socialist agenda to
the people against the dominant capitalist agenda.
2. Are you worried that the Opposition might not be comfortable with PSM
contesting as a third choice?
We are not sure. But I think that some opposition leaders and members feel
that we will affect their chances of winning. Besides that, the opposition
parties themselves might not be comfortable with the label socialist as they
fear Mahathir will ridicule them like what he is doing with PRM. PRM in fact
recently came out with a press conference to clarify that they are no longer
a socialist party (PRM was PSRM from the late 1960s to 1990).
3. What about allegations that PSM is being a "spoiler" in this elections?
Our reason to stand in elections is well known to everyone and all
the other parties knew it a long time ago. We asked for a one to one
fight, we only requested one state seat and one parliamentary seat, and we
even selected the "unsafe" seats. Most importantly, we also said that our
candidates will pull out if the opposition front can produce better
candidates who have done more work.
But sadly, we were ignored. As socialists in a country filled with
capitalists and those who believe in them, we only have one thing..that is
the strength to fight. Struggle we will and fight we shall and win we hope.
Our members are sad about the possible three cornered fights but they are
the ones who urge us not to back down because we have dignity and as a
socialist party, we know that we will always be confronted by these
problems. We consider those who forced us into three cornered fights as
spoilers. But we still appeal them to give way for us to have the seats we want.
4. What do you hope to achieve in this election? Are you confident of winning?
Election is not a life or death situation for us. Lose or win, it is only
one or two seats. The struggle will continue. We learned a lot from past
elections and we are still learning. We learned about coalition building
and we are "enjoying" contesting in elections. Everything will be
over after 2 weeks.
5. If elected, do you think you can bring much change to the system and society?
We feel our local programme will set high standards to the level of
commitment. We intend to establish peoples' council in our area and
get people involved in deciding their own fate. We shall not lead
them but rather grow with the people. (Kelantan Mentri Besar and PAS
spiritual leader) Nik Aziz Nik Mat is one man but he made a lot of people,
including some PAS leaders, ashamed of themselves, as the man leads a very
simple life. Of course quoting Nik Aziz does not mean we agree with his
belief and struggle. It is just an example of how PSM can also embarass
lot of people, especially the filthy rich politicians with our
people-orientated programmes. We shall have genuine YBs (Yang berkhidmat and
not Yang Berhormat)
6. What makes you think the voters will vote for you?
Only because we have done work and consistent in fighting injustice.
Our members have many times fought with the people and many times
been detained. We don't have any racial or religious sentiment to
back us but only our work, based on our socialist ideology of equality,
justice, freedom and democracy.
7. Do you think the Opposition is capable of denying or even defeating BN in
This is a question for the Barisan Alternatif but to bring down BN, more
empowering work needs to be done with the masses. Popular sentiments can
only be popular but empowering people is more crucial. We will love to see
the BA win... maybe they will register our party but again we will be happy
if they can just deny BN's two-thirds majority.