Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Malaysian people oppose Government intimidation

The Malaysian Government is headed for a major confrontation with citizens of various ethnicities and social classes in the lead-up to the 2011 July 9 Bersih 2.0 Rally.

While the government sometimes takes a progressive anti-imperialist position, it does so only from the perspective of the Malaysian big bourgeoisie. Rather than empowering the Malaysian working class in the anti-imperialist cause, it oppresses them, actively curtails their rights, and uses ethnic division to foment differences within the working class. Malaysians of Chinese and Indian ethnicity are discriminated against in many ways.

Bersih (“clean” in Malay) is a reformist movement that began in 2007. Many political parties and organizations, including NGOs, are participants although the focal point has been Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and his centrist Peoples Justice Party (PKR).

Also involved is the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) which is influenced by the theories of Antonio Gramsci and Rosa Luxemburg.

The reformist platform of Bersih 2.0 includes the following demands:

• The use of permanent ink to ensure that voters may only vote once.
• A clean out of the electoral rolls to remove entries that are no longer valid such as deceased people.
• The abolition of postal votes on the basis that they are easily abused.
• Perhaps most importantly, Bersih demands that all candidates and political parties have equal access to print and broadcast media.

The recent crackdown started on June 22 with the arrest of PKR Youth member Razali Abd Ghafar for selling Bersih 2.0 t-shirts in Sepang. Since his arrest, more than 80 other activists have been arrested including 31 PSM members, including Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, who were arrested at the Sungai Dua toll plaza in Penang on June 25. They had been travelling in a bus and were part of a roadshow and leafleting campaign for the July 9 Bersih Rally for free and fair elections.

Female activists of the PSM arrested in the bus incident were subjected to humiliating and degrading behaviour by the police. The 14 women were "kicked on the legs", "pushed and spat on", told to drink water from the toilet bowl and forced to change clothes in front of male officers.
Penang deputy police chief Abdul Rahim Jaafar announced that the group were "waging war" against the King. (King Mizan Zainal Abidin, 45, is the 13th Sultan of Trengganu state and 16th Yang di-Pertua Agong of Malaysia installed on 26 April this year. King Mizan studied at the Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia before proceeding to the Alliant International University in London where he graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988. It’s nice to know that Australia’s richest elite private college is playing its part in shaping the values of such a “democratic” monarch!)

"They were carrrying items inciting the people to hate the government. This is serious and can threaten national security. They include flyers and t-shirts with Chin Peng, Rashid Maidin and Suriani Abdullah - all connected to MCP - written on them," Abdul Rahim said.

The MCP is the former Malayan Communist Party led by Chin Peng . The Party dissolved after the signing of a ceasefire with the Malaysian Government in 1989.

However, the PSM leadership denies that it is connected to the MCP.

"We reject any claims that we are attempting to revive communist ideology in Malaysia or among our members," PSM chairman Dr Nasir Hashim told The Malay Mail on June 27.

"The government is trying to create a fake controversy by making the public believe we are communists or trying to revive communism. This is absolute nonsense."

"The only pictures on the Bersih T-shirts were Bersih 2 on the front and Bersih's eight demands for clean polls at the back. There is a possibility some of our members may have brought T-shirts with the images of Chin Peng and Rashid Maidin for their own use. Such T-shirts are on sale in KL and our members might have been carrying these or coincidentally wearing them when they were arrested," said Nasir, who is also the Kota Damansara assemblyman.
He said he did not discount foul play.

The arrests of the 30 PSM members has also served to expose the way in which the reactionary bourgeoisie of Malaysia, in common with the imperialists and their servants worldwide, use “anti-terrorist” laws to persecute innocent people.

Penang police deputy chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said the 30 PSM members were being detained and investigated under Section 122 of the Penal Code.

The Section was used to prosecute militant terrorist group Al-Ma’unah which staged an audacious arms heist at an army camp in July 2000 that resulted in a tense stand-off in the jungles near Sauk, Perak.

The Malaysian people will persist in the struggle for democratic reforms despite the persecution of the state authorities.

Allegations of “communism” against the PSM will only serve to popularise genuine communism and lead to the rebirth of the Communist Party to lead the fight against imperialist “globalisation” and for genuine independence and socialism.

No comments: