PSM activist have been always pushing the boundaries to increase the democratic space especially under the oppressive BN regime. The following are some of the struggles and contributions of the PSM to enhance democratic freedom for Malaysia.
Protest and Peaceful Assembly
The 1980’s and early 1990’s a spectra of fear was dominant amongst political activist and civil society . After the crackdown on the left and labour activist since the 1960 and 1970’s , most activist worked through NGO’s and remained restrained in their activities for fear that the ISA will be used against them. The 1987 Operasi Lallang made matters worse , when the authoritarian state further arrested a wide range of acitivist, political. Non political, educationist, lecturers etc,.
Thus , it was a time when the ISA bogey was constantly used to suppress dissent . Public protest were not heard off, the police practiced high handed tactics to arrest and intimidate any public gathering against the government , even legitimate pickets by unions against their employers.
PSM comrades braved the oppressive climate , and organized a large protest by plantation workers and urban poor in the centre of the city , in Dataran Merdeka on May 1st 1994. Around 2000 people were mobilized to highlight the plight of the plantation workers demanding for proper amenities, housing and wages and the urban pioneers voiced out against the cruel forced evictions that were rampant in the early 1990’s.
It was a successful demonstration without any arrest, as even the police and the FRU units have not been handling any large protest for the last 10 years before 1994. It opened the eyes of many whom previously were very fearful to organize any protest.
Since then ,many other protest and public gathering were being held by PSM and other movements, with intimidation and arrest, but the people were pushing forward to regain the rightful democratic space.