Why PSM is hesitating to join Pakatan Rakyat

Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj
Bt Pathma Subramanaim
PETALING JAYA (Oct 24): The opposition has often called on component parties and friendly associates to stay united in order to defeat the federal ruling political force since Malaysia’s independence in the next general election.
But PSM, despite having pledged to an electoral pact with Pakatan Rakyat – an informal coalition made up of PKR, DAP and PAS – has stayed aloof in taking the next step forward.
Although PSM shares a common stand on social democracy, its unbending stand on socialism evidently often clashed with Pakatan’s capitalist outlook.
The party’s central committee member Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj explained that making an official stand to join Pakatan meant more than just trading barbs over seats.
“We are a socialist party. (Pakatan) is good in terms of their stand on corruption, cronyism and they have more open laws and they are not racialist, all that, we appreciate.
“But the fact is, they still go for policies like free trade agreements; they are not against privatisation of basic services – these are a few matters that are against our long-term philosophy. However, they are better than the BN so we are supporting them fully in the next election.
He told fz.com in a recent interview that their anti-capitalist stance will never be compromised.
“We are against environmental degradation. We are against private transportation. For example, we believe the government should push for public transportation; it is more energy efficient – we are not going to insist on reducing prices of private cars,” he said.
“(Supporting cheaper car prices) shows that they are promoting guzzling of smoke. We would say put more money into public transport and cut down on private transportation – make public transport cheaper, in fact subsidise that – we have got no problem with that but make private transportation more and more expensive so that people will switch.”
That is the way forward, said Jeyakumar reproving the recent uproar, with Pakatan in the lead, in favour of slashing hefty excise duties and reducing the triple-tax burden imposed on foreign cars through the National Automotive Policy (NAP).
“These are the kinds of things we want to see – not just populist policies of making cars cheap, free toll for everyone – that is the wrong way to go.
However, he noted that these issues were policy matters that can be thrashed out when Pakatan is in control and be resolved through debates, in order for the public to make informed choices.
“In the upcoming election it is very simple – Pakatan Rakyat is promising clean governance. These policies are not in their manifesto; we can only hold them on their mandate – we can’t say they have cheated if our wishes are not fulfilled.
“Well, if they take it good on them; if they don’t agree then in the longer term we will have to go against the Pakatan on a different platform. But that is the next stage, because there are people in the Pakatan that also share our concerns and are against neoliberalism as well,” he added
“I think Malaysians need a longer-term alternative that is not capitalist. Our contribution to Malaysian politics is that we are putting up an alternative vision on how the world should be in 50 years,” he said, although the central committee, in its annual general meeting in March, was mandated to discuss the matter with Pakatan. – FZ.com
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