Many problems need socialist solutions, says new PSM chief

Dr Michael Jeyakumar, the newly elected Parti Sosialis Malaysia chairman.

PETALING JAYA: Dr Michael Jeyakumar, the newly elected Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) chairman, has disclosed that his party plans go on a campaign to educate the public on the relevance of socialism in today’s world.

He told FMT he believed many of the issues currently causing concern to Malaysia and the rest of the world would be difficult to handle within the framework of capitalism.

He cited climate change, uneven distribution of wealth and tax evasion as examples, saying the latter two were becoming increasingly apparent in Malaysia.

He alleged that vested corporate interests were making it difficult to bring about changes that would address such issues and noted that some members of the Putrajaya administration were themselves calling for solutions.

“So we will carry out campaigns to educate and mobilise people so that these will become issues the government cannot afford to ignore, and so that people within the government who have the right ideas will have more space to operate.”

He said the campaigns would also educate the public about PSM’s vision and mission.

“I think the Malaysian public does not yet see the value that we can add,” he said. “The left has been suppressed so much in this country that people don’t see there is a different alternative.”

Asked whether PSM would consider joining Pakatan Harapan or Barisan Nasional, Jeyakumar said the party would not give up its independence just to get more resources or support.

“Our role is to speak independently and stay honest with the people,” he said. “If we join one of the coalitions, we’ll be forced to be careful not to step on its toes.

“Not that we want to simply criticise, but we want to be able to say what we need to.”

However, he repeated an earlier statement from PSM that it was willing to work and engage with the government, adding that it was its duty and right to do so.

“Let’s say the government wants to form a think tank to discuss housing for the bottom 20% and it invites us to give ideas, then sure, we would definitely be interested,” he said.

“We will be an ally to anyone who’s sincerely working to develop Malaysia in the right way, whether it’s to build interracial harmony or to build the economy or to be more green.

“But we won’t be a slavish ally and we won’t be an irrational foe either.”