The Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia: PSM) is officially back.
Since the general election of 8 March 2008 it has had a member of parliament and three members in the state legislative assembly. Ironically, since the party was not officially recognised until after the election, all but one (who stood as independent)paraded under the banner of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
Its amazing that socialism as an ideology still exists in Malaysia (brief history). After the torrent of attacks since the 1930’s — first by the British and then by the Malaysian government, the left, it seems had been going out of fashion especially as the Malaysian economy boomed and the stigma of socialist state failures stuck.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) which has ties to the People’s Action Party (PAP) of Singapore (DAP was formed after Singapore and Malaysia split), is socialist by party constitution, but increasingly, it is moving to the centre — much like New Labour in Britain. Although, on all counts, the DAP is not a dictatorship like the PAP and has its own identity.
The other official socialist party — Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (Malaysian Peoples Socialist Party) has since merged with Parti Keadilan (Justice Party) to form the current leading multiracial party, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR – Peoples Justice Party).
On a personal note, I think that the Socialist Party of Malaysia is the most people-centred political party in comparison to all other political parties in Malaysia. Its advocacy is driven by the needs of its members and PSM provides excellent grassroots political education based on socialist principles and human rights. And it is definitely one of the cleanest political parties in town.
PSM is indeed a breath of fresh air in Malaysian politics and I wish them well.