“PSM needs to strike out on its own or help in the formation of a Third Force”

Letter to the editor 

THE much-hoped-for electoral pact between the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Pakatan Harapan did not materialise and it is really disappointing to the party to note that the decision was made at the eleventh hour and too close to the Nov 5 nomination day. PSM will most probably sit out of the 15th general election (GE15).  

It is time for PSM to think out of the box and create its own momentum and contribute to the formation of  a Third Force political  coalition for GE16. PSM can also take the initiative to stand on its own for the state  elections especially in Selangor possibly taking place  early next year. 

It has enough time to strike out on its own and not depend on other self-interested and selfish political parties. With the right approach a Third Force of smaller parties can be set up to face the state election   in Selangor where the PSM is better known.

Presently, there is the prevailing voter lethargy, which is an indication of voters being fed up with the political situation and the parties. A Third Force can spark renewed interest among voters for smaller clean parties like the PSM. Selangor is very different from other states due to its diversity.  

I cannot understand PSM’s fixation with the Sg Siput parliamentary constituency.  PSM won the seat in 2008 with opposition support when there was strong discontentment among the Indian community against the MIC leadership especially after the Hindraf Rally. 

Dr. Michael Jeyakumar of PSM (middle left). (Photo credit: PSM pix)


Dr. Michael Jeyakumar  won the seat again in 2013 with PR support but lost when Pakatan Harapan  withdrew their support and fielded a PKR member. Pakatan is unwilling to give the seat to PSM due to their own party considerations. From now on PSM should not be soft on Pakatan and will have to criticise it as and when necessary. PSM has overlooked many issues affecting the people in Selangor because it is a Pakatan ruled state.

PSM should move to Selangor 

It is time to move away from Sg Siput and seek better opportunities elsewhere especially in Selangor. Selangor is different from other states as it is  well developed, prosperous and also the most multi-racial. 

Selangor also has many serious problems and issues such as its high urban poverty, unemployment, shortage of affordable housing, high cost of living and inflation, the widening  gap between the rich and poor, working class problems, insufficient public transport, shortage of land for growing food crops,  municipal problems, foreign workers depriving local workers of employment and commercial opportunities  not to mention various environmental concerns.

Corruption, lack of accountability, transparency, abuse of power abound in the Selangor administration. With such a plethora of issues to exploit in the nation’s most industrialised state it is surprising that the PSM is fixated with a backwater constituency like Sg Siput. 

Selangor offers so many prospects for the PSM’s ideological struggle and to grow from strength to strength by taking up issues concerning workers and residents’ welfare. Workers’ Trade Unions are not strong anymore and are very much  divided, and PSM can champion the cause of workers especially during the present time due to the pandemic and economic slowdown. 

The B40 is facing severe hardship and needs a party dedicated to help them. What better party to assist them than the PSM! Presently, Malaysian politics is in a state of flux and it is possible that even after GE15 instability could prevail and that socio-economic problems facing the people will see no end in sight.

PSM can spearhead reform campaign 

PSM needs to take the cue from the Western European Green parties which started small but have grown to having a major influence in the political arena. The proportional representation electoral  system helped these parties to gain strength and become a major force to be reckoned with today. 

The PSM can spearhead a campaign for a reform of the present first past the post electoral system, which is a British colonial legacy, in favour of a better system. The constituency delineation too is totally unfair and the major parties are not complaining because the existing set-up favours them.  

The smaller parties don’t stand a chance of winning. Some boundaries are drawn based on racial lines and some are very unequal as can be seen when certain constituencies have more than 100,000 voters whereas some have only a little more than 10,000. 

On what basis can these constituency delineation exercises be called fair and equitable? Worse still rural constituencies are  far more numerous in number and also given increased weightage when in reality the demographic situation has changed since the 1990s and poverty today in the country is more urban-based.

PSM also needs to popularise itself more to the people especially the younger ones who are more idealistic and reform-minded.  I would suggest that PSM initiate an annual Ahmad Boestamam Award, in memory of the late leftist and freedom  fighter. 

The award should be for academics and students in tertiary institutions, journalists and community activists who champion the cause for an egalitarian Malaysia. Now that PSM has been shown the exit by the Opposition, it needs to strike out on its own and open opportunities and possibilities in the  fast changing political landscape of the country

V. Thomas,

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main photo credit: Sinar Harian 

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