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Socialists make come back in Malaysian Parliament after four decades

Kuala Lumpur, 9 March 2008

After four decades, two members of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) finally won elections and would be sworn in as State Assemblyman and Parliamentarian. PSM National Chairperson, Dr. Nasir Hashim won the Kota Damansara State seat in Selangor beating National Front UMNO candidate Zein Isma Ismail by 1,075 majority. Dr. Nasir secured 11,846 votes compared to Zein 10,771. Meanwhile Central Committee Member, Dr. Jeyakumar created a major upset by beating MIC’s Datuk S.Samy Vellu who is a senior minister and the leader of the third largest component party in the Barisan National. Dr. Kumar obtained 16,458 votes compared to 14,637 votes obtained by Samy Vellu. Kumar would now become the first Socialist Parliamentarian after more than four decades in waiting.

The last time Socialist won a Parliamentary seat was in 1964 when Socialist Front won two seats whereby the last time the Socialist won a State Assemble seat was in 1969 when Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM) won four state seats in Penang (Teluk Bahang and Balik Pulau) and Pahang (Terentum and Temerloh).

Now almost four decades later, PSM finally won two seats. One in parliament and one in State Assemble. PSM contested in four seats using the PKR’s logo since the party could not use its own logo as its registration as a political party has been denied. It used a separate 7 point manifesto while endorsing the Opposition front (PKR and PAS) manifesto. All party and campaign documents carried the party’s logo as well as the flag which was used along with the PKR’s flag.

The party contested in four seats. PSM Secretary General S.Arutchelvan lost narrowly to BN candidate JohaN Abdul Aziz in the Semenyih state seat. Comrade Arul garnered 10,448 votes against Johan 11,588, losing by less than 5%. Meanwhile PSM Deputy Chairperson M.Saraswathy lost in the Jelapang state seat by a huge margin. Her defeat was due to the failed negotiation with DAP which resulted in a three cornered fight. Comrade Saras had to use an independent logo which was confirmed only on nomination day. It was also a message to the party that the general sentiment was to go for a straight fight with the BN.

The party central committee would meet in two weeks time to decide on the party’s line especially in states where the opposition has won. Meanwhile a code of ethics will also be drawn out on requirements of the elected representatives and their role in Parliament and State Assemblies. The general sentiment and the expectation after the victory is that the PSM’s reps would have to champion to rights of the workers and the poor. The party would also try to establish people’s council in areas it has won to ensure total participation from the people and to ensure the people continue to play a critical role in ensuring their rights as well as building the working class movement.

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