Malaysiakini Letter

'PSM lost in Semenyih due to PKR's bullying tactics'

S Arutchelvan  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) in its election debut using its own symbol lost the Semenyih seat and came out third in the recently concluded GE.

I fared 5,568 votes against BN's Johan Aziz (17,616) and PKR's Hamidi Hassan (13,471). I accept the decision of the voters and congratulate Johan for his victory.

The combined votes of the opposition would have ensured a victory for Pakatan. A straight fight would have ensured a victory for PSM or PKR.

We regret that PKR's interference in this seat which they have never contested before, resulted in this three-corner fight in Semenyih.

Even though PKR came second, I am not able to consent nor condone to the bullying tactics employed by the Selangor PKR leadership in denying PSM the seat purely on racial reasons.

The PKR leadership must learn to respect its allies. Similarly PSM lost its Kota Damansara seat even using the PKR logo, simply because of a three-corner from another Pakatan partner, PAS.

While we wait for the post-mortem report of Semenyih PSM, let me share some of my own opinions on our defeat and some thoughts.

There are a few factors to my and PSM's defeat in Semenyih

1. People voted for the Pakatan logo and not for PSM or myself because they felt strongly that this election is about winning the BN and any person besides the Pakatan is seen as a spoiler and will not get their votes.

PSM lost not because that we had a weak machinery or a bad candidate, we lost because of public sentiment and the call for ‘Ini Kalilah'.

DAP, especially, worked very hard in the Chinese areas to tell people that we are not Pakatan and that we are an Independent and there to cause a split. This propaganda worked well and resulted in us losing the Chinese votes.

2. PSM's strategy was to win over the large number of non-Malay votes especially Chinese and Indian votes and try to gain a small majority of Malay votes. We did badly in the Malay traditional vilages and that is expected and not part of our strategy.

Our defeat in the Chinese areas proves that we were not able to convince a large segment of the Chinese community to think that we are part of Pakatan and we stand a better chance to win.

3. In traditional Malay areas, BN did extremely well and PKR got votes mainly from PAS and PKR party members. The results and votes garnered were quite similar to the votes I received in the last election in these areas.

It shows that Pakatan has not been able to penetrate the Malay votes in the rural areas and this trends continues.

4. A last minute campaign in Indian areas by the PKR Indian section also resulted in confusion within the Indian community that I am standing under the PKR logo.

In some places, they said that I have withdrawn and urged people to vote for PKR. Our counting agents also revealed that a number of spoilt votes were a result of people marking for both PSM and PKR.

This is a result of PKR members asking people to vote both this logos and not BN. A number of Indian voters, after casting their votes, were shocked to learn that we did not withdraw.

Some said that they voted for me but pointed at the PKR logo as this was what was explained to them. This sabotage did affect some of our votes.

5. On the other hand, PSM by winning more than 5,000 votes have proven that we are not an independent party whereby in perhaps all places, the Independent did lose their deposit. In Semenyih, we did not lose the deposit.

PSM did get votes from people who looked at the candidate rather than the logo. We performed well considering that we are fighting the BN and the Pakatan machinery.

6. There seems to be a level of frustration among party members that groundwork does not bring votes. This is something which we need to analyse and put much thought into.

This election has been a learning experience. We will perhaps have to win the ideological battle within the people and revolutionise the minds of the voters.

7. As far as campaign, support and solidarity, Semenyih PSM gained lots of support and solidarity. We did a strong campaign consideraing we are dealing with two giants - BN and the Pakatan.

A lot of people have also since joined the party and wanted to be part of the team in spite of our defeat. They like our work and they want to help us build from this defeat. We thank you.

At a personal level, I would like to thank all those who helped. My campaign team who performed extremely well and all the outsiders who helped and who wanted to see us win.

We are sorry to have disappointed you but we will have to strive harder and redeem the dignity of the people. The defeat of Pakatan nationally is yet another blow and we will have to face the attack for the neo-liberal policies very soon. PSM will fight on.

I have also resigned as a councillor of MPKJ with effect from yesterday though my term only expires on Dec 31 this year.

I think it is the most principled thing to do due to my defeat and to allow the Pakatan government to appoint a new councillor.

For socialists, victory is ensured when the wealth and income of the nation is distributed fairly to the majority of the people. This election is not about that.

This election is about throwing away a corrupt government. We will now have to start the socialist alternative for Semenyih and elsewhere.


S ARUTCHELVAN was PSM candidate for N24 Semenyih.

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