By Janarthani Arumugam

PSM offers a breath of fresh air in M'sian politics

My interactions with Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) have spanned at least six years. I have witnessed their work and been inspired by their principled stands on issues.

They represent plantation workers, evicted villagers, abused workers, marginalised communities, and they are fearless. And yes, they picket with workers, name and shame abusive capitalists and stand up for downtrodden people time and again... even when it is unpopular to do so.

Guided by their socialist ideology, they have always provided astute observations and made statements based on that guiding ideology.

Pakatan/PKR shrewdly fielded a crop of enlightened politicians the likes of Dr D Jeyakumar and Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim who have been socialists, thinkers and brilliant analysts of socio-economic issues.

To Pakatan's credit, that was a progressive move. Then again, they did not have as many potentials who have the credentials of these socialist politicians who are genuinely grassroots-based.

When I was conducting field work in Sungai Siput, I was informed of the exponential increase in the number of qualified welfare applicants in the area post-2008 after Dr Jeyakumar's office started a registration drive for qualified welfare beneficiaries. But then, BN's political manipulations had dampened his sincere efforts.

To his credit, Dr Jeyakumar has consistently raised vital issues which are ahead of the times, completely baffling the punitive minds of most politicians on both sides of the divide. Many of them lacked his level of understanding of socio-economic issues, much less possess the capacity to articulate their views intelligibly.

This was a breed of politician, the likes we have yet to witness.

PSM's work is arduous to say the least, uplifting marginalised communities - which is work that does not garner the media glitz that paltry political parties attract... like flies to rotting flesh. They work on issues like wages, labour rights and housing rights which are unpopular issues and require years of organisation.

The amazing thing is that they accomplished what they set out to do. Ideologically, they are sound and able to articulate the oppression of a harsh capitalistic system supported by harmful neo-liberal policies.

Voices of the underclass

How many ideologically and politically enlightened members does Umno, PKR, or even the savvy DAP produce? Political awareness and education are the basis of their work and activism. And boy, do they make an awesome sight as frontliners in demonstrations. Truly the voices of the underclass and disenfranchised of the nation facing the oppressive state.

To be treated thus, by opportunistic wolves in sheep's clothing... ie. PKR in its entirety, is a sham. It reeks of impudence and it is a classicist.

PKR is a much more economically stable party and headed by middle-class and upper class politicians with immense resources and clout. Whereas most members of PSM have only the battle scars of struggling against an oppressive state, at most.

I have witnessed aged ex-plantation workers who have benefited from housing because they agitated for their right to housing from multinational companies facilitated by PSM. I don't know any other political party that does that level of empowerment and education for its members.

It’s too bad that the majority of Malaysians lack ideological leanings which debilitates their ability to see beyond two equally lousy options. I believe that PSM can offer us a breath of fresh air in the cesspool that constitutes Malaysian politics. Vote for PSM!