Despicable to even think of GST !

Despicable to even think of GST !

PSM is very concerned that the PN government has plans to resurrect the dead Goods and Services Tax regime to increase government revenue. The Deputy Finance Minister II Mohd Shahar Abdullah, over the past week has repeatedly floated the idea of resurrecting GST. He claims that the GST brought in RM 40 billion a year compared to the SST that only manages to collect RM 21 billion a year.
It’s despicable that the Deputy Minister is even considering the GST in times when the rakyat has lost jobs and income. The GST has proven to be a very regressive tax hitting hard on the working people. It increases their daily consumption cost. When GST was introduced in 1st April, 2015, it clearly led a significant increase on consumer goods prices. Has the PN forgotten that GST was one of the issues that caused the downfall of the Najib government in 2018?
The government’s immediate response to fall back on a consumer tax regime reveals their pro rich mentality that prevents them from even thinking of grazing the wealthy!
Wealth Tax – Has PN the guts to introduce it
Many renowned economists concurred with the idea that the wealthy should contribute more to revive the country out of the Covid19 induced economic crisis. Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network said that “We will need to tax high-net worth, especially after the current disaster,”
Instead PSM puts a challenge to the PN government to implement the much needed wealth tax. PSM is proposing a progressive wealth tax to cope the shortcoming to government revenue.
Wealth tax is a tax levied on the value of held assets where tax will be applicable to a variety of asset types including cash, bank deposits, shares, fixed assets, personal cars, assessed value of real property, pension plans, money funds, owner-occupied housing, and trusts. We propose this tax only on those that have a declared wealth of RM1 billion and above. It would be a progressive tax starting from 2% up top 10%.
It is calculated proportionately according to the tax bracket that they fall. For example a billionaire with an estimated net wealth worth of RM 4.34 billion, will pay only 2% for the first 2 billion and 4 % for the balance 2.34billion.
Thus if the government taxes the 50 wealthiest Malaysians progressively it will generate approximately RM 20 billion per year from the billionaires. Rest assured that, that no billionaire will be pushed to poverty if the tax system is introduced. With the global economic downturn due to the pandemic, the wealthy have limited avenues to invest in productive capital. Thus it payback time, as they and their business empires have enjoyed various governments business friendly incentives and tax holidays all these years.
We strongly condemn the PN government’s short sighted plan to reintroduce the GST and challenge them to make a bold move and introduce a much needed wealth tax on the Malaysian billionaires!
Sivarajan Arumugam
Secretary General PSM
18th December, 2020.
Top Glove Shows the Folly of Private Capitalists!

Top Glove Shows the Folly of Private Capitalists!

Local manufacturers of latex gloves Top Glove have shown themselves to be anti-worker. Over the past few weeks Top Glove has given us the largest Covid-19 cluster in Malaysia with more than 5,000 infections of Covid-19 amongst their workers, proven to provide appalling workers’ accommodation which led to The Labour Department opening 19 investigation papers in five states against them and even fired a worker who took a picture of the lack of social distancing within the company. The Teratai cluster has now resulted in the death of a security guard as well.
All of the above show the revolting true face of the company. Whilst basking in an era of increased profits of up to 400%, Top Glove has prioritised making money over taking care of its workers. If unofficial sources are to be believed, the working conditions in the company is similarly brutal, showing its success to be mainly for the fattening of capitalist pockets.
Top Glove is not the only company like this. Many firms that project a squeaky-clean image hide disturbing skeletons in their closets. Large multinational companies rely on underpaying and overworking their labour force to drive up profits. Even those that claim not to often utilise contract workers or subcontract out to vendor companies that do to lessen their costs. The exploitation of workers is the lifeblood by which our economy functions. The fact that we are integrated within the global supply chain has led to cheap labour being our selling point to attract investors. As such, the Malaysian labour force is condemned to be sold lock, stock and barrel to greedy companies looking for a profit.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia has seen time and again how our workers are treated inhumanely. We have stood with them at the forefront to organise them into functioning unions and have fought thousands of labour cases to force irresponsible employers to give the proper compensation to their employees. On the subject of migrant labour, we have seen how the companies that bring them in and state actors have collaborated to extract every last cent from migrant workers, from forcing them to live in cramped, unhygienic rooms to withholding their salaries for multiple months. Yet time goes by with practically no improvement.
How long are we to sell workers like cattle to capitalists? How long are we going to step upon the necks of migrant workers just to reap the benefits of their underpaid labour? Pemuda Sosialis is sickened, yet what is the use of appealing to an uncaring state which does nothing to remedy the situation? This is not even a dig on Perikatan Nasional, even Pakatan Harapan in 2018 gave the green light to Top Glove with then Minister of Human Resources, M. Kulasegaran, stating there was no evidence of worker exploitation in Top Glove.
Are we then to believe the appalling workers’ accommodations suddenly appeared between then and now? Or are we to believe that the same company, which has had many complaints on forced labour, has been treating their workers well?
Yet this is the reality of an economy wholly reliant on capital accumulation and the maximisation of profit. The billions of Ringgit generated do well to shield top executives from the cries of anguish of their workers. The very same billions then conveniently turn the authorities away from these atrocities to rubber stamp them instead.
Assuming a compliant government, the following steps must be taken against Top Glove:
1. Deadlines and Probationary Period
Top Glove must be given a deadline not more than 3 months to adequately improve their workers’ accommodations and be shown to ensure the compliance of all employees with Covid-19 SOPs. If they cannot meet this target, Top Glove’s operating license and land licenses for their facilities must be suspended until they can meet it.
Additionally, Top Glove must be put on a probationary period during which time random audits must be done to ensure the changes they have implemented are truly sustainable. An anonymous channel for their workers to give feedback during this period must be set up to identify internal pressure from management covering up labour abuses.
2. Push for Worker’ Involvement in Management
It is time that we understand without workers’ involvement in managing company decisions, their exploitation is imminent. For that, the workers themselves must be the owners of the means of production, otherwise known as the resources producing goods. When it comes to Top Glove, we must understand that to do away with top executives fattening their pockets with the exploitation of workers, they must not be the sole decision makers. Top Glove must be taken over and changed into a workers’ collective, for we have seen their management model failing to protect their workers properly.
Is this too far-fetched for us to imagine? We need not look too far for working examples. In Argentina exist worker-owned businesses of many types, from hotels to factories, that resulted from the occupy movement beginning in the late 90s which saw workers from retrenched businesses simply taking over the possession of properties and machinery to continue producing. They divided labour needs amongst themselves, organised production schedules and negotiated deals with customers all by themselves, proving there is no need for overbearing top executives for any essential activity other than to be leeching off their hard-earned profits. These workers collectively own the businesses, decide its direction together and easily work out salaries amongst themselves.
3. Invest in a Federal Jobs Guarantee Scheme
The state must understand how truly damaging Top Glove has been. They have worsened a public health crisis, indulged in human rights abuses and basked in profiteering off the pandemic, making millions they did not use to better Malaysian lives. This cannot continue, even a windfall tax is not enough.
That we have exposed our labour force to such manipulative parties warrant a deep introspection on how our economy functions. For us to ensure solid economic growth whilst minimising exploitation, there must an adequate Federal Jobs Guarantee scheme with set benefits and compensation for our workers. This way the usual threat used by private companies to keep workers silent against abuses, that of firing them, will no longer exist as the state guarantees work for those who are willing and able. Hence, there would be lesser prevalence of private abuses of workers.
With this in mind, we should not be so overburdened with the status quo to not realise the efficacy of the new. We should no longer keep up the pretence of private ownership, especially of large businesses, just to allow our workers to be treated like trash. It is time we do away with labour exploitation and, perhaps, Top Glove should be the first domino to fall.
Arveent Kathirtchelvan is the Head of the Science and Technology Bureau of Pemuda Sosialis, Parti Sosialis Malaysia
Wira, Wirawati dan Frontliner Yang Dilupa Dalam Belanjawan 2021

Wira, Wirawati dan Frontliner Yang Dilupa Dalam Belanjawan 2021

“Kami tidur dengan selamat kerana lelaki dan wanita yang bersedia pada waktu malam yang berjaga bertugas pada waktu malam untuk berdepan dengan keganasan yang akan mengancam kita.” – George Orwell

17 November 2020: Jaringan Pekerja Kontrak Kerajaan (JPKK) dan Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Swasta Perkhidmatan Sokongan Di Hospital-Hospital Kerajaan Semenanjung Malaysia tidak bersetuju dengan Belanjawan 2021 yang dibentangkan di Parlimen oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan Malaysia pada 6 November 2020 kerana Belanjawan 2021 telah mengabaikan frontliner atau barisan depan yang memerangi wabak COVID-19. Kami mendesak Kerajaan Persekutuan Malaysia untuk menggolongkan semua kakitangan yang berada di barisan depan pertempuran melawan pandemik COVID-19 agar segera dalam Belanjawan 2021, tanpa mengira kelas, pekerjaan, nilai, atau asal usul mereka.

Pekerja pembersih di hospital, anggota keselamatan sekolah, dan tukang kebun yang mempertaruhkan nyawa mereka setiap hari di barisan depan untuk melawan wabak COVID-19 diabaikan dalam Belanjawan 2021 kerana sistem kontrak pekerjaan mereka. Mereka tidak dianggap sebagai frontliner oleh Kerajaan Malaysia kerana mereka diupah oleh pihak ketiga untuk bantuan sokongan di premis Kerajaan. Oleh demikian, mereka tidak layak dilindungi dengan Elaun Khas COVID-19 sebanyak RM600 sebulan (sehingga wabak tersebut berjaya diatasi) dan pembayaran sekali RM500 sebagai penghargaan atas sumbangan oleh barisan hadapan Kementerian Kesihatan (KKM).

Semasa ucapan Belanjawan 2021 di Parlimen, Menteri Kewangan Malaysia, YB Senator Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz berkata, “Kerajaan menghargai usaha dan pengorbanan barisan hadapan dalam memerangi wabak COVID-19 ini.” Walau bagaimanapun, pengecualian barisan depan, wira dan wirawati seperti pekerja pembersih di hospital, anggota keselamatan sekolah, dan tukang kebun yang dilupakan dari Belanjawan 2021 bertentangan dengan ucapann beliau dan juga nilai teras pertama Belanjawan 2021 Kerajaan Persekutuan iaitu untuk Melindungi Kesejahteraan Rakyat.

Selain itu, para wira dan wirawati kita yang dilupai terdedah kepada risiko penularan COVID-19 setiap hari kerana kekurangan Peralatan Pelindung Diri (PPE) seperti topeng muka, pelindung muka, sarung tangan, dan lain-lain ketika mereka bekerja di hospital dan sekolah . Dengan menyediakan PPE kepada pembersih hospital, anggota keselamatan sekolah, dan tukang kebun juga membantu mencegah / menghentikan penyebaran COVID-19 kepada anggota keluarga mereka dan orang lain. Ia dapat membantu meratakan lengkung kadar jangkitan (flatten the curve). Kerajaan Malaysia memperuntukkan sejumlah RM318 juta untuk pembelian PPE dalam Belanjawan 2021, namun kesihatan pekerja pembersih hospital, anggota keselamatan sekolah, dan tukang kebun ini tidak berada di bawah kuasa Kerajaan Persekutuan. Sebabnya, mereka bukan sebahagian daripada penjawat awam tetapi pekerja kontrak yang diupah oleh pihak ketiga. PPE mereka berada di bawah tanggungjawab syarikat kontrak mereka. Oleh itu, langkah-langkah pemotongan kos mungkin tidak dapat dihindari untuk perniagaan, sedangkan Kerajaan dapat memusatkan perhatian pada kos sosial untuk rakyatnya tanpa mematuhi sifat untung dan rugi oleh suatu perniagaan.

Menurut laporan kami, masalah penswastaan sistem sokongan untuk premis Kerajaan merangkumi pembayaran gaji lewat, pembuangan kerja secara tidak adil, tiada kenaikan gaji, dan lain-lain. Penswastaan tidak menyelesaikan masalah penjimatan kos untuk perbelanjaan Kerajaan tetapi memindah masalah tersebut kepada kos sosial seperti masalah kesihatan dan pertikaian di tempat kerja yang memerlukan lebih banyak sumber dari Kerajaan. Sudah tentu, pandemik COVID-19 memperburukkan masalah ini apabila wira dan wirawati kita yang dilupakan tidak dilindungi.

JPKK berkomitmen untuk mengembalikan semua pekerja kontrak di premis Kerajaan untuk menjadi sebahagian daripada penjawat awam sebelum Jun 2021. Seperti yang dikatakan oleh Geoge Orwell, “Kami tidur dengan selamat kerana lelaki dan wanita yang bersedia pada waktu malam untuk berdepan dengan keganasan yang akan mengancam kita.” Kami belum terlambat untuk memasukkan “lelaki dan wanita” dan wira-wirawati kita yang dilupa untuk kembali ke dalam bab buku sejarah kami yang akan dibaca oleh anak-anak kita, mengenai wira dan wirawati kita ketika kita mengalahkan wabak COVID-19!

Kami mendesak Kerajaan Persekutuan Malaysia, Perdana Menteri Malaysia, Menteri Kewangan Malaysia, Menteri Pendidikan Malaysia, dan Menteri Sumber Manusia untuk menggolongkan semua kakitangan yang berada di barisan depan pertempuran melawan pandemik COVID-19 agar segera dalam Belanjawan 2021, tanpa mengira kelas, pekerjaan, nilai, atau asal usul mereka.


Dikeluarkan oleh,
1.Jaringan Pekerja Kontrak Kerajaan (JPKK) &
2. Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Swasta Perkhidmatan Sokongan Di Hospital-Hospital Kerajaan Semenanjung Malaysia
Hubungi: Wing Hoong (+60 11 5636 8136)

Government Funding Should Be Visionary And Independent Of Taxation

Government Funding Should Be Visionary And Independent Of Taxation

Pemuda Sosialis notes the recent developments with regards to funding Budget 2021 both from Wan Fayhsal and Syed Saddiq. Wan Fayhsal has floated the idea of BNM printing more money and distributing directly to Malaysians (helicopter money monetary policy, according to the Deputy Minister) coupled with a debt forgiveness scheme.
Pemuda Sosialis appreciates this refreshing change of policy for the Malaysian government, which is seeming to be moving towards lesser reliance on debt-constrained government spending. PSM similarly has pushed for Debt Monetisation to increase the government’s cash-in-hand.
“Debt monetization” is a strategy that is being used by several governments including Indonesia, India, Japan and New Zealand in which the government sells Government Securities to its own Central Bank but at very low interest rates (perhaps 0.1%). This strategy provides government with the extra funds that it needs in a crisis situation without the disadvantage of committing the country to high interest payments in the future.
At this juncture, Pemuda Sosialis would like to explain why we are spearheading this manner of liquidity creation rather than relying on taxation alone.
Whilst it is a socialist ideal to have better, more progressive taxation policies, with greater income taxation for the rich and the introduction of taxes on wealth, inheritance and capital gains, we understand that as a trade nation with an economy reliant on the private sector for now, there is little room to manoeuvre in the implementation of these taxes. We must not be so naïve to think the wealthy capitalists would sit idly by as their profits are taxed. Surely, they would use the Free Trade Agreements we have signed to relocate their businesses or even fund counter movements to undermine these efforts.
Pemuda Sosialis believes that whilst pushing for better taxation, the government must slowly increase its influence in the economy to decrease the reliance on private hands. In that way, any threat of capital flight is diminished as the economy would better survive the impact and laws for good governance, taxation and even complete unionisation can be passed more reliably. Through strategies such as debt monetisation, liquid capital can be made available which, with clever and visionary investment in the local economy, lead to fruitful outcomes in the future.
In this sense, a government’s limit on spending is the rate of inflation, which should be outpaced through economic growth. This way a sluggish economy is accelerated to becoming stable (say, at the point full employment is reached), at which point taxation can come in to limit money circulation and provide for government income.
However, Pemuda Sosialis would like to caution the Deputy Minister on how he plans to use this newly printed money. Whilst handing out hard-cash to the people seems an acceptable way, we would hasten to point out that simply doing this will only further the dominance of the private sector, especially MNCs, as the money would be spent to on goods and services owned primarily by these.
This is why PSM points out that the government must take a leading role in the economy as the private sector has shown itself to be incapable of creating the job opportunities needed with adequate job security, remuneration and benefits. Moreover, the political influence private hands have due to a concentration of capital is undesirable as it may impair the democratic will of the people through political manipulation.
In line with this, amongst others, PSM has suggested government-led investments in expanding food agriculture, expanding healthcare facilities, improving social housing for young families especially from the B20, increasing renewable energy, better our solid waste program and cleaning up our rivers. These foci would at the same time create jobs, deepen state-ownership of key industries and improve the lives of the many holistically. Pemuda Sosialis would also add that a Jobs Guarantee Scheme and a modified UBI would be our thrusts for spending as well.
Hence, an important question we must address is, would this Perikatan Nasional government spend the money they are planning to create properly? Our views of the Budget 2021, which can be read here, finds their analysis and spending plans largely lacking and unreliable. Just from a jobs-creation angle alone, Pemuda Sosialis believes that it is over-reliant on the private sector, with a focus on creating incentives rather than direct creation of new industries. With this, then, Pemuda Sosialis concludes that whilst Wan Fayhsal’s approach to create liquid capital is acceptable, the plans his government have to spend it would only lead to more problems later on.
We must, however, applaud his idea of a debt jubilee. In these times of strife, banks have continued to profit in the hundreds of millions whilst people have lost their livelihoods. It is only right that these banks introduce debt forgiveness schemes that eliminates the debt of certain groups (in the form of loans or mortgages) to alleviate their burden. What more, many banks are actually GLCs, hence have a greater responsibility to the people than most companies. In fact, moving forward, Pemuda Sosialis would like to suggest mobilising GLCs away from their profit-accumulating motive and channel the capital they create to funding further job creation and industry growth.
An associated idea we must congratulate belongs to MUDA and Syed Saddiq who suggested a windfall tax be levied on businesses that have profited the most during the pandemic. Glove manufacturers mainly have profited many times over and, as before, it is only natural that they should give a greater percentage of their windfall for improvements elsewhere. Pemuda Sosialis would like to back this idea to generate more capital as well.
Arveent Kathirtchelvan
Head of the Science and Technology Bureau,
Pemuda Sosialis,
November 19, 2020,
Parti Sosialis Malaysia.
Krisis Air Selangor: Kerajaan Negeri Alpa, Rakyat Yang Merana

Krisis Air Selangor: Kerajaan Negeri Alpa, Rakyat Yang Merana

Krisis air di Selangor berulang kembali hanya selepas hampir sebulan ianya berlaku. Kali ini pencemaran di Sungai Semenyih berlaku dan dilaporkan hampir 309, 687 pengguna dijangka menghadapi masalah bekalan air di 274 kawasan termasuk kawasan di Kuala Langat, Hulu Langat, Sepang dan Petaling.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia Negeri Selangor (PSM Selangor) melihat masalah ini sebagai kegagalan Kerajaan Negeri Selangor menangani masalah ini dengan berkesan. Pada masa rakyat digesa mengamalkan cara hidup yang bersih semasa berhadapan dengan penularan wabak Covid-19, bekalan air bersih pula sering terganggu.
PSM Selangor ingin mengutarakan isu-isu berikut:
1. Penubuhan Pengurusan Air Selangor nampak tidak berkesan dalam memberikan perkhidmatan yang baik kepada rakyat. Syarikat demi syarikat pengurusan air berubah di Selangor namun, keperluan rakyat tidak diberi kepentingan. Kerajaan Negeri Selangor seharusnya sedar bahawa gangguan bekalan air akibat pencemaran menjejaskan ramai pengguna dan mengambil tindakan untuk menangani masalah pencemaran dengan tegas.
2. Bekalan air berpusat tidak dapat menampung keperluan berbanding dengan tahap pembangunan yang pesat berlaku di Selangor. Oleh itu, adalah dicadangkan agar sumber air tempatan (localised) seperti tadahan air hujan di kawasan perumahan yang dibiayai oleh Kerajaan Negeri diwujudkan. Ini dapat menyelesaikan masalah keperluan air tempatan dan gangguan bekalan air dapat diminimakan dan tidak akan menjejaskan ramai pengguna.
3. Kerajaan Negeri Selangor perlu melihat masalah ini sebagai isu pencemaran yang serius dan bukannya masalah gangguan bekalan air yang biasa. Tindakan tegas terhadap pihak yang bertanggungjawab melakukan pencemaran perlu diambil, Walaupun dilaporkan Kerajaan Negeri akan meminda Enakmen Lembaga Urus Air Selangor 1999 untuk meningkat kadar penalti untuk pencemaran air, PSM Selangor menggesa tindakan yang lebih tegas seperti pengharaman syarikat yang terbabit harus diambil demi kepentingan rakyat.
4. Selain itu, memandangkan masalah ini sering berlaku, persoalannya di sini, siapakah yang menguatkuasa kawalan dan pemantauan terhadap pihak yang mencemarkan sumber air dan sungai-sungai ini? Tanpa ada pihak menjaga, mengawal atau memantau, sumber air dan sungai tetap terdedah kepada pencemaran seperti yang telah dan sedang berlaku ini. PSM Selangor juga berharap isu menuding jari kepada Kerajaan Persekutuan atau Jabatan Alam Sekitar tidak berlaku kerana ianya hanya membazir masa dan tidak menyelesaikan masalah pokok.
5. Tambahan pula, memantau pencemaran tidak cukup jika ianya hanya dilakukan oleh Jabatan Alam sekitar dan Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (LUAS). Pihak PBT yang memberikan kelulusan pembangunan berhampiran sungai harus dipertanggungjawabkan. Jangan gunakan alasan pemutihan kilang-kilang haram atau tanah geran hakmilik kilang untuk membiarkan kilang operasi berhampiran sungai. PSM Selangor menggesa agar kawasan berhampiran sungai seharusnya direzabkan dan sebarang aktiviti pembangunan tidak dibenarkan.
6. PSM Selangor juga menggesa Kerajaan Negeri Selangor untuk mengambil tindakan mengurangkan pembaziran air – ‘air tidak terhasil’ (non revenue water) dengan penyelenggaraan sistem perpaipan di Selangor secara lebih terurus. Jumlah air tidak terhasil di Selangor dilaporkan lebih kurang 30% pada masa ini.
Selvam V
PSM Selangor
7 Oktober 2020
Abolishing the Vernacular School System is not the Solution.

Abolishing the Vernacular School System is not the Solution.

The statement released by Head Armada Nasional Bersatu, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal reflects an elitist individual wishing to maintain a privileged position in the constitution by language policing. It does not reflect an individual that wishes to unite the citizens of Malaysia as what Wan Fayhsal wishes to be portrayed as. Even worse, his argument is detrimental to the discourse on plural society unity as he argued that the fluency in the national language reflects individual nationalism. This gives Wan Fayhsal the impression of being in the know while in reality just nonsense spewed biasedly referencing researches to fit a narrative that will be proven futile in actualising any effort towards unity.

While it is agreed upon that any effort in forming a united plural society starts from the most primary level of education, vernacular school system is collateral to the plural society itself rather than a plague to the system. Vernacular school system has been embedded deeply within the tapestry of Malaysian Education System. It has been a mean of cultural identity preservation just as how Islamic religious school is a mean to preserve and strengthen the Islamic religious identity of the students enrolled. Thus, to abolish the vernacular school system on the basis of the lack of national language fluency in reflection to individual nationalism will be counterproductive to the initial effort. To take away a mean of cultural preservation is to take away what Malaysia has been portrayed as; multiracial plural society tolerant of each other’s identity. A conformity of national language fluency is not a magical solve all for the problems of unity in Malaysia. Even if all the students within the education system are put under a roof with the jigsaw classroom model, unity will still be out of reach as long as the Head Armada does not reflect inward on the causes of a disruptive discourse on unity.

Wan Fayhsal may give out a narrative of language as the basis of unity and vernacular school system embraces differences in language usage which will consequently disregard a prioritisation of the national language. He is speaking from a viewpoint of a politician that is playing on the sentiment of the people and not from the viewpoint of an individual that values the education system itself. S. Gudschinsky posited that student’s fluency in their mother tongue can be transferred to a second language thus allowing a beneficial exposure to second language. For C. Eastman, native language usage will foster a good-home working relationship. Learning difficulties were also documented among minority children with an inadequate grasp of medium of instruction by multiple linguists from C. Bowen to J. Macnamara to name a few. Does Wan Fayhsal even have the best for the citizens at heart or simply revisiting sentiments that had existed since the release of Barnes Report to fulfil the requirement as a folly politician? If the fluency of national language is reflective of one’s nationalism, can this statement by Pemuda PSM written in English be reflective of a collective that is going against the best of the Malaysian people?

Pemuda PSM wishes for a united Malaysia as well but unity should not be built on the basis of erasing the cultural identity of the minorities. Vernacular school wasn’t built to be divisive for the people but any narrative that painted it as such is. If education is the main concern in the development of a united plural society, Wan Fayhsal should have been aware on establishment of Islamic religious school in Malaysia as the breeding ground for religious fundamentalism resulting in the decline of Malays’ cultural identities while being the major race itself. In relation to the education system itself, why should the vernacular school system be the target of the narrative of a disruptive system when tertiary education system allows for universities to prioritise only the majority race on the basis of affirmative action? Why should education be the target when individuals like Wan Fayhsal freely stoke the flame of racial issues through racial politics?

It should have been obvious that Wan Fayhsal’s statement was built on an unsubstantial ground. The referencing of 1996 Education Act and the work of Prof. Dr. Teo Kok Seong is only to build a narrative on vernacular school system that does not have a correlation to the issue of unity in Malaysia. He is another player in the political arena seeking to subject blame onto a system that is not within his capability to understand yet could not help but to cling on to in order to gain pity points for his pathetic climb towards securing a position in an already turbulent racially driven politics.


*Local Government Election Betrayal*

*Local Government Election Betrayal*

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) today lambasted Local Government and Housing Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin for backing down on the local government election issue, saying it was sad that she had given up so easily while citing lame excuses.

“This shows that someone who has been so brave previously in breaking party ranks (when in PKR) is now not prepared to do it this time in spite of making all the arguments why local government elections are good,” said PSM deputy chairperson S Arutchelvan (above) in a statement.

“While today, they keep talking about racial considerations, the main reason (for opposing local elections) is because these parties want to appoint political loyalists rather than (allow the) people to have elected representatives.”

Arutchelvan was responding to Zuraida’s announcement in the Dewan Rakyat today that the Perikatan Nasional government would not hold local government elections, saying that both society and local governments were not ready for “the drastic” move of council elections.

The former local councillor for the Kajang Municipal Council reminded Zuraida that far from being a drastic change, local government elections existed in the 1950s and 1960s at a time when the country had fewer facilities and poorer technology.

Zuraida Kamaruddin

“Therefore it not a new thing like (that we should keep) debating as if it is something out of the world. A majority of countries in the world have the third vote,” he added.

Taking a walk down memory lane, Arutchelvan said local elections were held in the country in 1958 and 1963.

“They were suspended because of the 1964 Confrontation with Indonesia and the Emergency (Suspension of Local Government Elections) Regulations 1965, not because of the May 13, 1969 racial riots.”

This had followed a period when the Socialist Front coalition of the Labour Party and Parti Rakyat Malaysia had done very well in local council elections, winning the mayorship of Penang under DS Ramanathan.

Arutchelvan cited that a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the working of local governments in West Malaysia was established in June 1965 for this purpose and led by Senator Athi Nahappan and it concluded after four years that local government elections must be conducted and needed to be extended to more areas.

“These Royal Commission findings were not implemented, similar to how the Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill drafted by another RCI has not been implemented,” lamented Arutchelvan.

PKR’s Tanjung Malim MP Chang Lih Kang (photo) also weighed in, expressing his “grave disappointment” over Zuraida’s announcement.

“The latest announcement is a complete turnaround from her own statement she gave in the Parliament barely a month ago.

“On July 14, 2020, the minister informed the august House that the ministry has set up a policy and operations committee to study the legal and financial aspects as well as the mechanism for implementation of local government elections.

“She also assured that a paper would be tabled in the cabinet by mid-2021,” said Chang, who is also PKR spokesperson for housing, local government and infrastructure.

“In less than a month, the minister has gone back on her words. I am of the opinion that local government elections would strengthen local democracy significantly. There might be issues that we need to deal with along the process, but the idea is worth to be given serious deliberation.”

He said the minister should not decide hastily and unilaterally on such important policy, especially when resources and manpower have been allocated to conduct a feasibility study.

“She should have waited for the outcome of the study and make a considered decision based on findings but unfortunately, the minister yields to political pressure and made an imprudent decision,” Chang said, adding that Zuraida had “failed her test.”

6 August 2020