“Come learn about the secretary of Pemuda Sosialis, saudara Gandipan, who has been with PSM since 2017, contributing to education issues, labour rights and geopolitical thought”
What is your name, age and profession?
- Gandipan, 24, Environmental Scientist
What drew you to PSM? When did you join the party?
- I joined the party in 2017. PSM attracted my attention as it was (still is) the only political party that proposes progressive policies for working people in Malaysia and touches issues that no other political parties dare to touch. Policies such as free education really attracted my attention when I was a university student back in 2017.
Why do you think socialism has such a negative reputation among so many people around the world? What do you say to those who discourage you?
- This goes back to the Cold War era where Western countries and their allies used media conglomerates to spread propaganda to legitimize their attacks against left-leaning countries. This approach still continues until today where we can see relentless attacks against countries like China, Cuba, Venezuela and character assassinations against leftist leaders like Lula, Jeremy Corbyn and Evo Morales. Apart from that, bad political decisions taken by previous leaders in leftist countries damaged the reputation of socialism.
How familiar are you with Malaysia’s left wing history? Are there particular leaders you admire?
- I’m still in the process of learning the history. SA Ganapathy, first president of Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions and Ahmad Boestamam, Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya are two figures I admire for their ideals, principles and bravery.
Is there any frustration you feel over PSM’s size and impact? Since Dr Jeyakumar and other candidates were soundly defeated in GE14, has the party been reduced to mosquito status?
- The frustration has always been there. But I also understand that it takes time and continuous effort for an ideological based political party to gain a stronghold in this country. Furthermore, I do not think those defeats in GE14 have affected our morale and reduced our role in this political scene. Post GE-14 till today, PSM has been fighting for progressive policies through organizing the masses. We have been talking about higher minimum wage, climate emergency, contract workers’ issues and affordable housing for people. When other mainstream political parties are too busy in their inter/intra political tussles, PSM is the only political party out there putting forward and pressuring the government to focus on the people’s plights.
Do you see any differences between BN and PH rule?
- Under PH, the media gained some freedom and it was easier to approach ministers/officials to talk about issues. These are the only differences I can think of. Working people in Malaysia are being thrown under the bus through neoliberal and austerity policies despite changes in parties running the country.
What can be done to broaden PSM’s appeal, particularly among young people and non-Indians?
- I believe PSM has attracted many young people across the races to the party this year as PSM has been the only party talking about important issues and organizing masses. Rise of leftist leaders in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States (Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez) has also been contributing to this. PSM’s approach towards issues like affordable housing and climate emergency which is affecting people across the races and young people will be the important factors for encouraging people to join us.
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