Ex-PSM candidate hopes for change in party’s fortunes in Semenyih

PSM central committee member S Arulchelvan says recent events have led to a shift in voters’ perception of BN and PH.

SEMENYIH: Although it is known as “the party that always loses”, PSM is hoping for a change in fortunes when voters in Semenyih head to the polling stations in the by-election for the state constituency on March 2.

PSM committee member S Arulchelvan said the party’s challenges, despite its work with the hardcore poor and those from the bottom 40 income group, were due to “election propaganda”, not public rejection of its socialist, left-wing agenda.

“The public is told that PSM won’t win, and that we are here to split the popular vote – even though we’ve been here for many years already – and that we are the party that always loses,” he told FMT on the sidelines of PSM’s campaign trail for the by-election here.

But Arulchelvan, better known as Arul, said PSM had only lost its deposit for Semenyih in last year’s general election, not in the two previous elections when he contested as its candidate.

“We lost our deposit last year because of the huge wave for Pakatan Harapan.

“This was good because it was a chance to change the government,” he said, adding however that the tide had now changed.

He said there was strong discontent among Chinese voters, especially those who were upset with some of PPBM’s recent decisions including the move to accept ex-Umno leaders into the party.

He claimed there were similar sentiments among PAS supporters in Semenyih following Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent statement on the party’s collaboration with Umno in the by-election.

Ever since Mahathir said that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang had told him the Islamist party would not back Umno in Semenyih, he said, PAS supporters had “gone missing”.

“I have not noticed any PAS machinery physically present on the ground. I don’t see them anywhere,” he said.

For PSM, he said, the by-election was an opportunity to step up and prove that it is not about “shameless politics”.

He added that PSM had never closed a service centre in any constituency where it had lost.

“I think what we are looking at now is a lot of young people who are beginning to reject this and understand what socialism, capitalism and things like that are. They also appreciate our volunteerism,” he said.

PSM’s candidate for Semenyih, Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul, got involved with the party around four years ago. His father was formerly the Selangor PAS election director and state party secretary.

Arul, who has been campaigning with the party and Nik Aziz, said they had received a warm welcome in Semenyih so far.

Come polling day, he hopes the sentiments translate into votes for PSM as well.

He said there was a need for more checks and balances by opposition assemblymen in Selangor.

He added that it was his duty to raise the alarm about government decisions.

“We will raise issues of local, state and national interests. It’s not just making empty promises and disregarding issues of national impact.

“We’ll be raising these issues throughout our campaign,” he said.

And if PSM loses?

“Not an issue at all,” he told FMT. “After that, don’t forget we’ll still be on the ground.”