Excessive Empowerment by the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022

Excessive Empowerment by the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, AUGUST 2 2022: On July 26 2022, the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) proposed a bill in parliament which is referred to as the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 with the aim of ending the consumption of tobacco products among Malaysians born on January 1 2007 and later. Although the vision is favourable from a medical and health perspective, the contents of the bill are problematic particularly in terms of enforcement.

Firstly, clause 17 stipulates that any person born on January 1 2007 onwards who is found guilty of smoking or possessing any tobacco product or substitute, or even just using any smoking device shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM500 (initially RM5000 but has been reduced according to a tweet by YB Khairy Jamaluddin). This means that a punitive method will be used to combat smoking addiction which is a health issue, not a crime, further stigmatising it among the community. On top of that, the deliberate decision of implementing a fine will lead to lower income people being disproportionately affected as it will further burden them financially. It is common knowledge that punishment is not a deterrent and a person who is fined has no actual incentive to cease their smoking; they will merely be more vigilant to avoid getting into trouble again with the authorities. Thus, the bill is clearly contradictory to its supposed end goal.

Besides that, clauses 26, 31, and 34 pose a great threat to the safety of the people as they unnecessarily empower authoritative bodies, enabling them to abuse their power and terrorise individuals as well as communities. This is largely due to the use of ambiguous language within the bill. There is no clear indication of what is considered as suspicious behaviour to justify giving power to the authorities to enter premises, stop, search as well as seize conveyance, and access recorded information including but not limited to computerised data. Passing the bill without revising these clauses will jeopardise the security and privacy of people, including those who are in proximity to a suspect. The passing of the ineffective IPCC bill should also be highlighted as there is currently no strong independent body to monitor the activities of the authorities, further accentuating the inevitable abuse of power that will come with the passing of this bill.

Moreover, clause 33 which empowers the authorities to enforce measures contained within clause 32 without a warrant is detrimental to the people. Regardless of whether or not the authorities do possess reason to forgo a delayed warrant in order to search and seize a premise (by force if necessary as provided in clause 32), this sets a precedent for them to do so anyway, being held accountable for it (if at all) only after it has been weaponized against a suspect. This is clearly an unnecessary amount of power to give to any authoritative body which harms the people, especially marginalised and lower income groups who are disproportionately targeted by them.

As mentioned, YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the Minister of Health, has uploaded a tweet on August 1 2022 at 6.15pm which states that some small amendments have been made to the bill including the reduction of the maximum fine, the addition of a community service option, the outlawing of body searches on those below 18 years old, and the removal of punishments for those who are caught possessing tobacco products. However, these changes are insufficient as the clauses that enable abuse of power still exist. The alterations on the other hand have not changed the efficacy of the bill as whether it is a fine of RM 500 or RM 5000, they are both huge amounts for lower income people, causing them to still be disproportionately affected. In addition, no one should be subjected to a body search for committing any offence related to this bill.

In summary, the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 proposed by the MOH should be thoroughly revised before even being considered to pass in parliament. It is full of dangerous provisions that expose the people to violations of their democratic and human rights. With this, Pemuda Sosialis demands for a bill that is designed with the best interest of the people in mind, centering methods of rehabilitation instead of punishment in order to resolve the issue of smoking in the nation. The MOH should also consider providing free nicotine patches and other safe alternatives to aid people in overcoming their smoking addiction if they truly care about the people’s health.

Titania

Ahli Jawatankuasa

Pemuda Sosialis

PSM publishes Socialist Perspectives 15 magazine

PSM publishes Socialist Perspectives 15 magazine

It is easier, as Frederic Jameson once remarked, to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. His words echo truly in Malaysia, where the axioms of liberal capitalism and “good governance” still hold us hostage. 

The specters of the Emergency, the global Red Scare, and sixty years of right-wing dictatorship haunt us still. Even the most progressive political voices are still only able to call for lukewarm social reforms, leaving the base economic structure unchallenged. It is almost impossible to imagine a genuine alternative for Malaysia, where the economy works for the people, and workers’ interests are represented and protected.  

That is precisely why Volume 15 of the Socialist Perspective magazine is an important read. This publication collects many of the thoughts and triumphs of the socialist movement in Malaysia, as seen through the writings of many of Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s (PSM) leading members. From reflections on recent struggles to punchy commentaries on domestic & international affairs, and even touching memorials to late comrades. This volume is an important contribution to the formation of a truly Malaysian socialism, formulated from & suited to the material conditions that the rakyat and marhaen are facing. 

There is no better antidote to despair for Malaysians than to see the good works & praxis that already exist. Socialist Perspective is, as always, a good reminder to all its readers that our struggles continue, and that the fight for a better Malaysia is alive and well.

Socialist Perspectives 15 is available by post, as well as walk-in purchases at PSM’s Headquarters

For Walk-in purchases:
Ibu Pejabat Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
No. 140, Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad,
Brickfield 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Google Maps : https://goo.gl/maps/op73ABnwhxXuiD83A

For other purchases, or buying in bulk, contact:
016-2290460 (Sook Hwa)

A New Deal for Malaysia – Socialists Launch Progressive Recovery Plan

A New Deal for Malaysia – Socialists Launch Progressive Recovery Plan

KEMPEN PEMULIHAN NASIONAL – PEKA NASIB KAMI! RAKYAT MINTA LIMA!

Press Statement
22nd May 2022

In the last 2 years, we have been fighting Covid-19 and the pandemic induced economic crisis that followed due to business shutdowns and movement control restrictions. As of November 2020, around 100,000 people have lost their jobs and many more in the informal sector would have lost their income. 

The pandemic has exposed the failures of Capitalism the world over and Malaysia has not been spared. Although business shutdowns and movement control orders were imposed across the board to all sectors of the population, but the impact on society varies along class lines. The poor were the most badly hit. Many lost their jobs as SMEs struggled to survive and self-employed micro businesses had to shut down their hard built businesses when cost outran their revenue. They were forced to look for alternate sources of income overnight.

Besides losing their source of livelihood, urban poor staying in 650 sq feet PPR public housing found it impossible to carry out social distancing and situations were exacerbated during isolation as their family members were required to be quarantined. 

The Malaysian government in its long standing conviction to the neoliberal path has been detracting from its responsibility of providing basic essential services for the rakyat and promoting privatisation of public services. After three decades of aggressive privatisation, we are left with a weakened public healthcare system, expensive education, workers with dismantled safeguards, an increase in precarious work, unaffordable housing and a widening disparity between the rich and poor. 

The pandemic shattered the already weak social security system, throwing poor households and even the M40 into sudden poverty. Some of the hard lessons the pandemic has taught us are; 

  1. The Pandemic and its induced economic crisis has hit the B40 the hardest. Despite the indiscriminate attack of the virus amongst the rich and poor, a household’s income and job security often determines if they can remain resilient throughout the pandemic. 
  1. Jobs that were thought to be secure just vanished overnight and many were left to fend for themselves, struggling desperately to put food on the table. Without a comprehensive social security system, many fell through the cracks.
  1. We were always told to believe that the private sector is the key driver for economic progress that provides jobs for the rakyat. However, when economic downturn strikes, the companies in the private sector falter, downsize their workforce and freeze new job openings. Many projects were put on hold and unemployment soared to 4.8% as at June, 2021(DOSM). The impact is larger as many have been forced from formal employment into underemployment and informal work. 
  1. Although policy makers always pushed for more privatisation of healthcare, health tourism and incentives for private medical care, it has been blatantly proven that it was the public healthcare system that provided care to the rakyat throughout the pandemic. Private healthcare was reluctant to take in Covid patients and moved extremely slowly to relieve the load off of government hospitals.
  1. Sectors of our working people who are often forgotten and marginalised by many are the ones who actually hold up the nation in times of crises. Those that provide essential services such as farmers, cleaners, garbage collectors, lorry drivers, delivery riders play a critical role to keep the supply and services going. We realise that it is not the fund managers, the speculators, the stock marketers and the bourgeois elite that stand out in these trying times.

These hard lessons need to be understood and acted upon so that we don’t make the same mistakes again. These experiences have taught us that we cannot return to business as usual and instead to take efforts to revamp our economic and development model seriously in order to make ourselves more resilient to future crises.

The political and corporate elite who were the least affected economically and socially by the pandemic will not be jolted to offer a progressive alternative for Malaysia. The neoliberal, corporate driven economic model has been accepted by both political coalitions. It was merely a change of guards with minimal attempt for structural change.

PSM believes that the task of ensuring that the basic needs are met for the rakyat is the responsibility of government. The government cannot stop at only extending easy credit to the banks and giving cash incentives for businesses to preserve and/or create jobs. We believe that given the marked loss in aggregate demand, these stimuli will not solve the problem as elaborated above. 

Trickle down approach fails to solve core structural problems in our policies.  Have the political elite failed to realise that they must step in and supply basic needs and services when the market fails to do so?

In these times of crises, people without income will be marginalised if we rely on market based approaches. The market fails when human need is not backed up by purchasing power. There is a real risk that a significant number of Malaysian families will not be able to provide basic needs – food, shelter and health care for themselves! And that is not acceptable!

As the paradigm shifts towards a progressive people centred action plan, PSM is putting forward a new deal for Malaysia. This new way forward attempts to take Malaysia on a path to dismantle the adverse effects of neoliberalism by enhancing our social security and rebuilding our basic support pillars for the rakyat’s well-being. Our new deal proposals are aptly themed “KEMPEN PEMULIHAN NASIONAL – PEKA NASIB KAMI! RAKYAT MINTA LIMA!

The action plan propounds 5 PILLARS as follows; 

  1. Empowering Social Security 
  2. Job Guarantee Scheme 
  3. Housing as a human right 
  4. Reinforcing Public Healthcare 
  5. Immediate Action to tackle Climate Crisis. 

The ideas being put forward by each pillar are briefly stated as follows; 

  1. Empowering Social Security for working people
  1. Introduce a Modified Universal Basic Income 
  2. End outsourcing of government services and absorb contract workers as permanent government staff
  3. Amend Labour and Social Security Acts to provide protection for ‘gig’ workers and precarious employment 
  4. Reform PERKESO’s Employment Insurance Scheme
  5. Monthly pensions for those above 65 years old
  1. Job Guarantee Scheme For Youth
  1. Green jobs
  2. Increase job opportunities in farming and food production
  3. Constructing more and equipping healthcare facilities better
  4. Jobs in conservation activities, reforestation and restoration of heritage sites
  5. Increase research opportunities in medical and pharmacological fields
  6. Increase social welfare workers to provide direct assistance to the needy
  7. Ground officers to monitor implementation of government programs
  8. Childcare work 
  9. Socialisation of housework 
  10. Reduce working hours
  11. Compel Government Linked Companies to fund and initiate such job guarantee schemes 
  12. Introduce a law against anti-discrimination in employment.
  1. Housing as a human right
  1. Build more rental PPR units for the B20
  2. Decouple public housing from the market
  3. Stop forced evictions of urban pioneers. Offer land to occupiers, not to third parties
  4. Establish a Non-profit trust fund to build houses for the B40 
  5. Maintenance of low cost housing apartments to be taken over by local councils
  1. Strengthen Public Healthcare System
  1. Rope in General Practitioners to assist in treating patients with chronic diseases to relieve the burden of Government Hospitals
  2. Use levy collected from migrant workers to pay for their healthcare cost
  3. Government should bear the cost of implants and surgical accessories at Hospitals 
  4. Ministry of Health budget needs to be increased
  5. Quality and affordable healthcare is social wage for the rakyat
  1. Immediate Action to tackle Climate Crisis
  1. Work towards 100% renewable energy
  2. Address pollution from Petroleum Industries
  3. Increase public transport infrastructure and ridership
  4. Moratorium on logging and mining in primary reserve forests

The proposals outlined in the document “KEMPEN PEMULIHAN NASIONAL – PEKA NASIB KAMI! RAKYAT MINTA LIMA! requires political will driven by clear class perspective and an anti-neoliberal stance to push for concrete changes. Malaysia’s recovery and progress requires a serious paradigm shift; decoupling itself from neoliberal policies that have clearly failed to safeguard the interest of the  rakyat in times of crisis.

The campaign will be launched concurrently on 22nd May, 2022 in Pulau Pinang, Kedah, Perak, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Johor.  

Subsequently we will embark on a national campaign tour, to promote the 5 key demands and why Malaysia needs to immediately proceed on an economic path away from the neoliberal model. 

The events planned in the coming weeks are as follows 

  • Campaign convoy to key cities.   
  • Engaging with the rakyat on the 5 pillars.  
  • Gathering feedback on local issues and endorsement for the demands. 
  • Banners in key areas. 
  • Group discussions 
  • Solidarity visits to communities involved in struggles 
  • Participation sessions with local civil society organisations. 

Please look out for upcoming campaign information soon. 

You may read the full 5 Pillar proposals here:  

For more information, please contact:  

Sivarajan A,

pusat@partisosialis.org

Stop the military aggression against the Kurds

Stop the military aggression against the Kurds

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the increasingly authoritarian Turkish president who hypocritically pretended to be a “peacemaker” in the Ukraine war has ordered the latest round of cross-border attacks which took effect on 17th April 2022, targeting areas controlled by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq).

RELEASE DETAINED PSM ACTIVISTS WHO DEFENDED CHEPOR IMPIAN PERAK FARM LANDS NOW

RELEASE DETAINED PSM ACTIVISTS WHO DEFENDED CHEPOR IMPIAN PERAK FARM LANDS NOW

Police stand watch near an excavator attempting to enter the farmers’ land.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia is shocked at the blatant abuse of police power against Perak farmers in the recent weeks. Today morning, 13th April, 2022 Perak Police came in full force to assist a developer to carry out excavation works on farm lands cultivated by farmers for more than 40 years in Chepor Impian, (Daerah Kinta) Perak.

PSM Sg Siput Chairperson Agastim Mariasosai

Today’s encroachment into the land was done without any court order! Yet the police assisted this illegal land encroachment by arresting two PSM comrades whom questioned the developer and police. The PSM Sg Siput Chairperson Agastim Mariasosai and PSM Youth member Kesavan Parvathy were arrested at about 12pm today and are being detained at the Ibupejabat Polis Daerah Ipoh now.

Before this the farmers with the assistance of PSM have made several police reports highlighting the previous encroachments on 4th and 5th April, 2022 but no action was taken.

This is absolutely in contradiction to Perak police chief, Datuk Mior Faridalathrash Wahid statement last Monday, 11th April, 2022 that police deny assisting State agency to encroach on the Kanthan land. The incidents this morning at Chepor Impian proves otherwise, as police arrested PSM activists that defended the land and stood in protection of the excavator as it carried out farm land clearing works.

PSM Youth member Kesavan Parvathy

Just last week, another farmer from Kanthan was arrested for defending his farm land and questioning the Perak State Development Authority (Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Perak) of disrespecting the courts. The court clearly gave instructions to the PKNP lawyers that no state agency or its agents should enter the Kanthan farming land until the matter is heard in court.

PSM condemns this blatant highhanded action by the Perak police, without doubt in cohorts with the developer and Perak State agencies to evict the farmers.

PSM demands that the police release immediately PSM members Agastim and Kesavan and refrain from assisting developers and state agencies to carry out illegal eviction of farmers lands and abide by the process of law in the courts.

A Sivarajan
Secretary General, Parti Sosialis Malaysia
2.20pm 13th April, 2022

PRN Johor 2022 – Perlunya Parti yang Melawan Arus

PRN Johor 2022 – Perlunya Parti yang Melawan Arus

Sejak keputusan PRN Johor pada hari Sabtu, 12hb.Mac , 2022 yang lalu, pelbagai analisis muncul terutamanya dari penganalisis politik dan juga dari ahli politik. Kebanyakkannya merungut mengenai kesilapan ‘pembangkang’. Apakah sepatutnya mereka buat, apakah salah tafsiran ahli politik, apakah strategi yang harus dipakaim dan sebagainya. Ada mengatakan kemenangan BN adalah disebabkan oleh penurunan peratus keluar mengundi. Kesemuanya berkisar sekeliling apakah baik untuk ‘parti politik’ ini dan itu.

Tetapi saya kurang membaca apajua komentar yang melihat apakah sebenarnya baik untuk rakyat berbanding dengan apakah baik untuk parti politik.

Selama 3 hingga 4 minggu saya berada di Johor untuk menyiapkan jentera Parti Sosialis Malaysia untuk bertanding di kerusi N49 Kota Iskandar Johor, saya mendengar pelbagai komen dari rakyat setempat. Diantara yang biasa didengar ialah “piliharaya ini membazir masa sahaja”, “ semua parti sama sahaja lah”, “lepas undi semua hilang tak tunaikan janji pada rakyat”, “takut Covid, tak keluar mengundi” dan komen-komen lain yang memaparkan ketidalpuashatian rakyat terhadap parti-parti politik sedia ada, dan juga keperluan mengadakan PRN sekarang.

Ada juga yang mengatakan bahawa mereka “confuse (keliru) kerana banyak sangat parti, pembangkang kerana perpecahan”. Saya juga melihat langsung tidak wujud apa-apa suasana pilihanraya dikalangan rakyat. Tidak ada laungan “ini kali lah” ataupun motivasi untuk turun mengundi dengan harapan memperbaiki nasib rakyat biasa.

Justeru itu disinilah kita harus berfikir secara mendalam. Kenapa rakyat merasakan bahawa kehidupan mereka dan kesusahan mereka tidak akan berubah melalui PRN Johor kali ini? Adakah mereka sudah capai ke kesimpulan bahawa, manajua parti yang menang ianya 2×5, 5×2 sahaja? Atau adakah rakyat mendahulukan kestabilan selepas ketidaktentuan politik sejak Langkah Sheraton pada awal tahun 2020 lagi? Rakyat sanggup mengkorbankan aspirasi perubahan sebenar, demi kestabilan politik walaupun ianya datang dari blok yang pernah dicampakkan oleh rakyat sendiri pada tahun 2018.

PRN Johor dan PRN sebelumnya di Melaka dan Sarawak, harus memberikan peluang kepada rakyat untuk merenung kembali sebenarnya apakah peranan parti politik dalam menentukan masa depan mereka.

Jika dilihat parti-parti yang memperjuangkan hak Bumiputera dari UMNO dan serpihannya seperti BERSATU dan Pejuang, rakyat kini jelas memahami bahawa kesemuanya hanya ‘menjual’ retorik hak Melayu untuk menumpukan kekayaan kepada golongan elit Melayu dan bukannya majoriti rakyat Melayu. Begitu juga parti-parti lain yang mengunakan retorik kaum sebagai agenda mereka.

Jika dilihat pada pembangkang (yang pernah menjadi Kerajaan selama 22 bulan) juga gagal membawa perubahan jelas dalam kehidupan rakyat, terutamanya isu-isu asas. Walaupun mereka hanya dalam pemerintahan selama 22 bulan tetapi mereka berkuasa di Pulau Pinang dan Selangor selama 14 tahun. Apa pula nasib rakyat dikedua-dua Negeri itu?

Perubahan sebenar dalam kehidupan harian hanya akan tercapai jika kita membawa kuasa politik yang berani melawan arus. Melawan arus maksudnya, politik yang memahami hegemoni ekonomi dan politik yang mengkongkong kita. Suatu tatacara sistem ekonomi yang merampas hasil titik peluh rakyat untuk mengkayakan segelintir elit bisnes dan politik. Ianya berlaku dalam pelbagai cara, bermula dari polisi gaji murah kepada pekerja demi membolehkan Ketua Eksekutif (CEO) menerima gaji ratusan ribuan ringgit setiap bulan. Monopoli bisnes yang menekan peniaga kecil. Perniagaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) yang terpaksa mengurangkan kos kerana dituntut oleh pembeli multinasional.

Perampasan tanah dari petani, orang asli dan juga penduduk kampong untuk diberikan kepada korporat besar. Penindasan pekerja industry e-hailing, p-hailing , penghantar makanan dan barangan yang melihat pendapatan mereka semakin berkurang walaupun pesanan bertambah.

Hasil nelayan yang berkurang kerana pembangunan sisir pantai dan industry perngorekkan pasir yang berleluasa. Maka kos makanan bertambah kerana nelayan dan petani tempatan dipinggirkan dan rakyat beralih ke makanan impot.

Senarai isu-isu rakyat marhain iaitu majoriti pengundi dimana-mana kawasan mengundi amatlah panjang, tetapi siapa yang berani melawan arus hegemoni ekonomi dan politik ini untuk membawa perubahan sebenar?

Hampir kesemua parti-parti politik dan juga gabungan-gabungan politik samaada yang memerintah atau pernah memerintah ini nampaknya lebih ingin mengekalkan ‘status quo’ hegemoni ini kerana ianya jelas juga menguntungkan kerjaya politik mereka.

Maka, pengajaran dari PRN Johor dan pilihanraya sebelum ini ialah, rakyat harus meneliti pendirian dan pegangan parti-parti politik-politik ini. Retorik politik bersih, telus dan anti-rasuah itu penting, tetapi ianya tidak mencukupi untuk memecahkan hegemoni ekonomi yang menekan rakyat.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia, walaupun suatu kuasa yang kecil, berani membawa suatu naratif politik baru yang benar-benar mencabar hegemoni ekonomi kapitalis ini. Ini bukan suatu kenyataan kosong, kerana rekod sejarah perjuangan PSM sememangnya diakui ramai. Dari perjuangan menentang perampasan tanah orang kampong tradisi, peneroka Bandar, Orang Asli, pekerja estet sehinggalah perjuangan menentang pengumpulan kekayaan oleh korporat bisnes.

Maka, kita perlukan suatu peralihan, dari mengundi parti-parti yang menjual retorik ‘kaum’ kepada alternatif politik yang meletakkan perjuangan kelas masyarakat sebagai agenda utamanya. Sebab perjuangan kelas marhain akan memanfaatkan kesemua kaum, terutamanya kaum Melayu yang masih merupakan kaum yang mempunyai peratus pendapatan isi rumah dibawah RM2000 yang tertinggi.

Politik perjuangan kelas akan mengenalpasti pelakon-pelakon yang menaja dan mengekalkan hegemoni ekonomi ini dan melancarkan perjuangan terhadap mereka agar kekayaan masyarakat dikongsikan dengan lebih adil.

Kini sudah tiba masanya, kita beralih kepada memilih kuasa politik yang jelas dalam perjuangan kelas dan berani memecahkan hegemoni ekonomi yang menghambakan rakyat terbanyak. PRU15 akan memberikan rakyat satu lagi peluang untuk menolak parti-parti perkauman dan parti-parti yang mengelar diri mereka sebagai radikal dan reformis, tetapi sebenarnya amat kabur dalam pendirian mereka menentang hegemoni ekonomi kapitalis ini.

Cukup sudah rakyat diperbodohkan dengan parti-parti politik serpihan ini yang kononya berbeza dan akan menyelesaikan permasalahan rakyat. Pengalaman dan pengkhianatan politik mereka telah menjadikan rakyat lebih matang untuk memilih dengan lebih teliti sebuah parti dan kuasa politik yang berdasarkan perjuangan kelas yang sebenarnya.

Sivarajan A
Setiausaha Agung PSM
14/3/2022

#BreakTheBias and Inequality!

#BreakTheBias and Inequality!

08 March 2022 

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Break the Bias”, aims to bring awareness to the gender biases women face every day in all walks of life. Biases exist around us in terms of gender, colour, nationality, height, identity, physical disability, sexuality, and the list goes on. #BreaktheBias encourages us to rethink and call out gender bias when we see it happen, keeping us accountable for our thoughts and actions.

Gender bias refers to women being treated differently than men and her potential being suppressed in many aspects. Whether the bias is deliberate or subconscious, it prevents women from achieving their full potential by obstructing many chances and recognition due to them.

In 2020, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a study revealing that almost 90% of men and women show some bias against women, which creates a lot of barriers and obstacles for women. Consider the Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) which measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work, and education, and contains data from 75 countries, covering over 80 percent of the world’s population. This GSNI raises concerns about the vast power gap between men and women in politics and the economy. 

Even today, in Malaysia even women Parliamentarians have to struggle extra hard to make their voices to be heard in the midst of all the sexist taunts in Parliament by their male counterparts. Can you imagine what is the fate of normal women in workplace and public domain in trying to get their voices heard or their issues highlighted?

Our society as a whole has proven to be biased, sexist, misogynistic, unequal, and insensitive. It reveals itself in our thought process, working norms, and interactions deeply rooted in traditional gender roles and norms and the underlying imbalance of power that shapes them. This creates a substantial disparity in how women and girls acquire opportunities to engage in public life compared to men and boys.

The Malaysian society perpetuates many ‘norms’ that marginalizes several factions of society, including the LGBTQI+ individuals. For women in Malaysia, especially women from the minority, marginalized and underrepresented groups, this year’s IWD theme is very meaningful as it focuses on equal representation, gender balance in the public decision-making process and the end to the bias. 

We all have our unconscious biases, which is a huge problem. It is time for us to realize it and encourage women to speak up against bias in the workplace, at home, in Parliament, and in every aspect of our lives. It’s time to be inspired and inspire others to break the bias. 

Regardless of gender, International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March is a moment for us to reflect on and celebrate the women’s struggle in Malaysia and globally. Together, we can take it further and make more progress supporting women’s rights. Equality is not only for imagination and dreams; it is a collective responsibility and Gender Equality is not a women issue but a human issue.

Happy International Women’s Day from Parti Sosialis Malaysia

Nalini Elumalai
Gender Bureau
Parti Sosialis Malaysia

Pekerja Keselamatan Menang Gaji OT 3 Tahun

Pekerja Keselamatan Menang Gaji OT 3 Tahun

8hb Feb 2022

Murali Vengu seorang pekerja keselamatan yang telah bekerja dengan sebuah bengkel kereta kemalangan dan pusat tuntutan insurans, telah menfailkan tuntutan gaji kerja lebih masa (OT), gaji cuti rehat dan juga gaji cuti hari kelepasan am terhadap majikannya pada bulan Oktober, 2021 yang lalu.

Murali seorang sahajalah yang menjaga keseluruhan stor bengkel yang menempatkan kereta-kereta kemalangan yang sedang melalui proses bayaran insurans. Majikan bengkel tidak mengambil pekerja keselamatan tambahan. Maka beliau diminta bekerja dari 7 malam sehinggalah pejabat bengkel tersebut buka pada jam 9 pagi pada hari keesokannya. Walaupun beliau sepatutnya hanya bertugas selama 12 jam, iaitu dari 7 malam sehingga 7 pagi, tetapi biasanya beliau diminta tunggu sehingga pekerja ofis masuk kerja pada jam 9 pagi. Maka beliau bekerja sehingga 14 jam setiap hari.

Murali juga tidak diperuntukkan apajua cuti rehat setiap minggu, cuti tahunan dan diminta juga kerja pada hari kelepasan am. Pada hari dimana Murali terpaksa keluar untuk urusan penting, beliau terpaksa menempatkan isterinya di pondok pengawal untuk sementara waktu sehingga beliau pulang.

Walaupun bekerja 12 jam hingga 14 jam setiap hari, tetapi beliau hanya menerima gaji asas sebanyak RM 1,300 dan elaun petrol sebanyak RM250 setiap bulan. Sehingga beliau berhenti kerja pada tahun 2018, beliau langsung tidak dibayar gaji kerja lebih masa OT.

Semasa rundingan di Jabatan Tenaga Kerja Subang Jaya pada hari ini, majikan cuba mengelirukan pegawai dengan mengatakan bahawa pelbagai bayaran telah dibuat kepada Murali. Tetapi pemeriksaan lanjut menunjukkan bahawa majikan mengabungkan bayaran elaun petrol dan caruman KWSP untuk memberikan gambaran bahawa suatu jumlah besar telah dibayar kepada Murali dan tuntutannya tidak betul.

Saya telah menerangkan bahawa, tuntutan Murali sebenarnya melibatkan pelbagai komponen seperti tuntutan gaji lebih masa (OT) hari kerja biasa, hari rehat, hari kelepasan am, gaji kerja hari rehat dan gaji kerja hari kelepasan am. Majikan pun mengaku bahawa bayaran gaji kerja lebih masa sememangnya tidak dibayar kepada Murali, maka mereka mencadangkan suatu penyelesaian dibincangkan tanpa melalui perbicaraan penuh.

Selepas rundingan beberapa kali diantara majikan dan pegawai, akhirnya majikan bersetuju membayar sebanyak RM 58,000 kepada Murali sebagai amaun penyelesaian. Jumlah tersebut adalah lebih kurang bersamaan dengan RM 1,600/sebulan gaji lebih masa untuk 3 tahun.

Seperti Murali, ada ramai lagi pekerja keselamatan yang ditipu tanpa dibayar gaji lebih masa, walaupun ianya jelas dinyatakan sebagai amaun yang perlu dibayar oleh majikan dalam Akta Kerja. Maka, lebih ramai lagi pekerja keselamatan harus memastikan bahawa hak mereka terbela dan kiraan gaji merangkumi bayaran gaji kerja lebih masa.

Rakyat pekerja hanya dapat mengajar majikan-majikan seperti ini, jika lebih ramai lagi yang menfailkan kes dan mengheret mereka ke Mahkamah Buruh. Tindakan ini amat penting, demi memastikan industry pengawal keselamatan ini menghentikan penindasan dan perampasan hasil titik peluh pekerja tanpa membayar gaji OT.

Sivarajan Arumugam
Setiausaha Agung
Parti Sosialis Malaysia

Class struggle in the face of environmental disasters

Class struggle in the face of environmental disasters

(originally published on ThinkLeft)


The major floods that happened are a call for greater class consciousness and better national policies to mitigate the devastating effects of extreme weather due to climate change. Apart from having the government meet the demands that we, the rakyat have set through Gabungan Darurat Iklim Malaysia (GDIMY), we propose a more proactive approach towards this cause. As capitalism continues to leave a trail of destruction, we need to switch on emergency mode through advocating for a change in our economy by bringing in an unconventional ideology: eco-socialism. 

On the 16th of December 2021, a tropical depression that made landfall on the eastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia brought heavy rains throughout the peninsula for several days. As a result of this, Malaysia experienced one of the worst floods in history, leaving an estimated 70,000 displaced and 50 dead.

The government was slow to deliver flood response, and a lack of clear central communication made things worse. Flood victims and volunteers take to social media to call for aid and coordination of flood relief efforts, showing solidarity among the people in the face of disasters.

According to the Climate Emergency Coalition of Malaysia (Gabungan Darurat Iklim Malaysia), lacklustre flood mitigation policies, loss of biodiversity and rainfall catchment areas, poor urban planning and unchecked development are all factors that culminated in this disaster.

The low-lying Taman Sri Muda township in Shah Alam is one of the worst flooded areas, with flood water reaching up to 4 metres. For 20 years, flood mitigation measures were sufficient to avoid major flooding — until the development of new projects in the surrounding areas compounded on the existing drainage system. 

Taman Sri Muda’s system is now burdened with water from surrounding areas that triples its original water retention capacity, and tidal gates have broken pumps that are not fixed, despite having a RM 10 million allocation for upgrading works.

Why are new development projects being approved without proper urban and flood mitigation planning? And why are state governments and relevant authorities not doing enough to fix urban infrastructure?

Malaysia’s urban landscape must not be dictated by a handful of developers that prioritise short-term profit over residents’ safety and wellbeing, as overdevelopment comes at a heavy price paid by ordinary citizens in the long run.

The flood not only laid bare the devastating effects of capitalism that thrives on the relentless pursuit of profits over sustainable development, it also managed to flush out the dirty laundry of our ruling elites. 

After the flood, our people were shocked at the horrific images on social media of mass timber debris floating on the rivers of Jalan Bentong-Karak and the Sri Telemong bridge. Civil society organisations and opposition parties often raised concerns over uncontrolled logging activities to the state government, yet it seems that this issue is not taken seriously.

State governments who have sole authority over forests are often embroiled in a situation where they will award forest logging licences or convert forest lands into crop plantations to generate state revenue or use it to gain political leverage — often with the involvement of Malaysia’s royal families.

In early June 2021, the Pahang state government approved an iron ore excavation project by a royalty-linked mining company near Tasik Chini, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. 

The forest reserve has a history of pollution due to mining and logging activities since 2005. Orang Asli communities in the area have been concerned about their wells being contaminated due to their reliance on rain and swamp water for consumption and daily activities. 

Fortunately, the project had been cancelled later in the month due to public outrage. Yet, later in the same month, there were still iron ore mining proposals at a degazetted forest reserve in Kuala Mukim Tembeling, Pahang which is listed as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).

Under capitalism, corporates and ruling elites share the same class interest of capital accumulation, even if it means risking severe loss of biodiversity and destroying the livelihoods of indigenous communities for the sake of profit.

The climate crisis is no longer a looming threat, it is happening in Malaysia as observed through extreme weather patterns and hotter temperatures. It is time we ask the people, do the state governments have it in their interests to protect the environment that secures the well-being of the people? Are the royal families who are being hailed as ‘protectors of the people’ walking their talk?

Echoing the solidarity spirit of #KitaJagaKita, we the people only have ourselves to rely on to mobilise for concrete changes in the country’s political landscape. Just like how the people mobilised and helped each other during the floods, we must continue showing solidarity across different races, religions and nationalities for a better world.

For the wealthy ruling elites, heavy rain meant lazy weathers and lie-ins; but for the everyday citizens, environmental destruction brought along devastating floods and a hazy future as they lost everything. 

The rift between the elites and the people is a class struggle on display, reflecting the central tenet of Marxism: “the history of all hitherto existing human society is the history of class struggles.”

Capitalism is a system that pursues infinite economic growth and profit in a world with finite resources. The system has been efficient in production, but it has exacerbated global wealth inequality. Land, natural resources and wealth concentrated in the hands of the ruling class at the expense of the people.

Instead of focusing on economic growth through resource extraction and mega-development projects, we should overcome the crisis of capitalism and fight for social ownership of the means of production among the people. 

Our political system must also incorporate the ideology of eco-socialism — that life can only be preserved with the preservation of nature. The world needs to move towards an egalitarian post-capitalist economic, political and social structure which can fulfill human needs through harmony of human and non-human ecology. 

Huei Ting and Audrey Chan
Bureau of Environment and Climate Crisis
Parti Sosialis Malaysia