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PSM strides on – 16th, National Congress
Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) News Release - June 17, 2014
Yes the atmosphere was already set. The red flag leading the way to the venue. Greeted with patriots of left leaders like Samsiah Fakeh, Lim Chin Siong and Veerasenan. PSM continues to remain relevant in a country which at one point had a very strong left presence. Today PSM continues to soldier this enormous task.
The party's opening rally was attended by among others by Dr. Rohana Arifin, Party Rakyat Malaysia Presiden, Muhammad Sabu, PAS Deputy National Chairperson, Maria Chin, BERSIH Chairperson, Chegu Bard, head of SAMM, Wathamoorthy, Hindraf President and YB Ravi, the State Assemblyman for Teluk Kemang. The strong presence of these leaders signifies the growing influence of PSM in the local arena. Besides them, PSM also received solidarity messages from all over the world. From Organisation in South East Asia Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand as well as solidarity messages from left parties in Australia, Germany, Greece, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Venezuela.
Dr. Nasir opened the 16th Party Congress at NUBE Training Centre speaking passionately about the role of activist, the state of affairs in the country and internationally and things to built on from our experience. He said that we have moved far in our role in building socialism in Malaysia and key to this is to understand ideology and to be sensitive to the dialectics developments around us and moving on. On Friday night, 25 delegates addressed and critiqued the Party Chairperson speech. Many agree to his points while some critiqued saying that the paper did not cover the issue such as global warming and climate change.
Later, in the evening, the first panel discussion on Post Soviet Union took place with Koh Kay Yew from the Socialist Club Singapore and Fajar Generation coming all the way from California as well. He was also a former ISA detainee in the sixties. He spoke with our own comrade Choo Chon Kai about situation in Ukraine as well Post Soviet Union – its relevance and its consequences.
The next day, PSM Secretary General, S. Arutchelvan read the one year progress of the party. He spoke that in the last one year, party membership has increased by 33% and out of this 75% of new members have been Malays, compared to 7% Chinese and 18% Indians. He spoke about the ongoing effort of building the Left Coalition which would be the first Left coalition since the demise of Socialist Front in 1967. The coalition also sees the 2 socialist parties Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) and PSM for the first time involved a formal political coalition, a desire expressed by many people. Besides them, the coalition also boosts the support of prominent activist like Dr. Kua Kia Soong, Irene Xavier, Fuad Rahmat, Anas Abdul Jalil, Kia Meng and Aziz Suraini. Other member organisation of the coalition is non party groups such as SAMM, Collective Intelligence and Workers Organisation.
The Secretary General also spoke about some of the successes and initiatives of the last one year. This included PSM winning the EO6 defamation case, the biggest May Day in Malaysian history, the fight against TPPA, and formation of a new campaign the fight house price increase. The starting of PSM's own book and souvenir shop called Tinta Merah (Red ink). He also warned about the growing political crisis which is expected especially on the future of PR if Anwar Ibrahim is imprisoned and the growing frustration within Pakatan on its handling of the Hudud issues.
Another interesting panel was on the question of political Islam where three panellists Dr. Fuad Rahmat, Oral historian Aziz Suraini and Dr. Nasir spoke about Political Islam and the role which PSM can play. The debate ended after the PSM members took a new policy decision and revised its policy of non-interferences on religious issues. The current Congress decision now allows the party to participate and give its perspective and views on such issues. The party has also decided to hold a one day national discussion to discuss the implementation of Hudud and PSM's position on this. This interesting discussion among others spoke about the Madinah Chatter, the role of Ulamak and how the left should respond to this.
At night, 13 critical motions were discussed and it went on until 2.30am any yet 2 of the motion relating to the Youth wing was postponed to the final date. Among critical motion which won were the motions that the party should have orientation and internship program for young members. A new body will also be set up to oversee branch development. On a serious note a motion supporting that PSM should critique interference of the monarch in cases of exploitation of the poor or involvement in business venture which will make the poor poorer. Another motion passed was for PSM to come out with a left economic manifesto was a Malaysian left agenda.
On the final day of the Congress PSM spoke about the need of transition within the party to enable young comrades take over the current leadership. The members resolved to have gradual transition mode where continuation and strength of the party must always be taken into consideration. PSM remains the only left party in South East Asia currently which has yet to face a split since its formation 17 years ago. Its success is due to the party handling of internal contradictions and strict discipline on the question of democratic centralism.
The last session was setting the resolution for the congress. The party debated and endorsed 18 resolutions and among others, calling for the Govt to leave the TPPA talk, oppose GST, resolution on health, education, workers rights, housing rights and others.
The 3 day Congress ended with the Internationale. Most members felt PSM has definitely grown and has become bigger, more multi racial and stronger. It was a fitting birthday present for Che Guevara who was born on the 14 Jun 1928. His spirits continue to inspire the young and the old.
Resolution of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia's 16 National Congress
Resolution of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia's 16 National Congress held at Nube Training Centre, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan between 13th. till the 15th. June 2014:
1. Stop the implementation of the GST on 1st April 2015. Tax the wealthy and retain corporate tax instead of shifting the tax burden to the poor.
2. Implement a Minimum or Living Wage of RM 1500 for the entire workforce including workers in Sabah & Sarawak. Abolish the cheap labour policy.
3. Do not sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Quit the partnership now! The TPPA is a global corporate agenda and a US-sponsored neo-colonial economic scheme.
4. Stop all discrimination based on race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Abolish the "race" column in all government forms. Enact the Social Inclusion Act to ensure assistance to the lower income group is channelled in a fair manner.
5. Allow automatic registration of trade unions and enact laws to enable trade union formation without any restrictions and obstacles.
6. Protect the people's right to the clean water supply. The water crisis and drought in the country are the effects of the global climate crisis that has resulted from irresponsible capitalist development that only pursues profit.
7. Save the earth by stopping deforestation. Preserve the forests in order to protect the natural environment. Incinerator construction should also be stopped across the country and replaced with a serious and aggressive recycling campaign.
8. Solve the housing price crisis by freeing housing from market speculation. The government should establish a non-profit trust to build reasonably-priced, comfortable homes. A savings scheme should be set up, to which 10% of all loan repayments are channelled. This fund should be made available during economic crises to house buyers facing falling incomes. An agency should also be set up to provide low-rental council homes for families earning less than RM2000 a month.
9. Withdraw the amendment to the Employment Act 1955 regarding the Contractor for Labour. Restrict contract work to work of a seasonal and temporary nature only.
10. Eliminate unemployment and guarantee employment opportunity for all. Initiate a pension scheme for workers in the private sector. Issues and problems pertaining to the rights and welfare of security guards should be given serious attention due to the widespread exploitation of workers in that sector.
11. Build more government hospitals in areas with large populations. Restrict the building of private hospitals.
12. Control and reduce the rising domestic electricity tariff. Review the Independent Power Providers (IPP) concession agreement with the TNB so that it doesn't burden the rakyat. The more than 20 billion gas subsidy which is given to the IPPs only profits the capitalists and government cronies.
13. Increase professionalism in the police force. Implement the Independent Police Commission of Misconduct (IPCMC) now.
14. Freeze the establishment of private schools, and increase the quality of government schools by reducing the number of students in each class especially for LINUS students. Increase the number special schools for students with learning disabilities.
15. PSM opposes the military coup in Thailand. PSM demands democracy be revived by ending emergency laws. Stop stifling the freedom of expression and release all political prisoners, and have elections immediately.
16. PSM reaffirms its support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to determine their future as a fundamental right that cannot be violated. PSM supports the reconciliation efforts among the different political entities in Palestine towards strengthening the Palestine national liberation movement.
17. Abolish the cabotage system which requires imported goods containers to be taken to Port Klang first before being sent to the ports in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. The abolishment of this system will help reduce prices of essential goods in Sabah and Sarawak where currently the prices of such goods are much higher than in Peninsula Malaysia.
18. PSM fully supports the demand of the non-government organisation, Royalti, for petroleum royalty to be given to the Kelantan State and increase royalty from 5% to 20% to other oil-producing states like Sabah and Sarawak.