- Name : Mahira Khairia
- Age : 29 years old
- Profession : Marketing & business development associate, freelance graphic designer and photographer
- What drew you to PSM?
I first came across PSM when I was browsing through Facebook posts that were circulated by my activist friends online. The activists in support of PSM were from a diverse range of communities– from the urban LGBTQIA youth to the Orang Asal tribes in various areas of West Malaysia. The one thing they had in common was their outspoken support for PSM (despite knowing that activists in Malaysia are usually publicly non-partisan). Upon reading their political ideologies, struggles, policies and their alternative vision for Malaysia, I learned that PSM has always been the Malaysian underdog that strives to fight for everyone with no bias towards any race, religion and social status. PSM has always fought for and continues to fight for marginalised communities which includes the labour workers, the urban poor, and even those who are shunned from society like the LGBT+ community against the capitalist system which we are currently under.
- 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?
We live in a world where information disseminated is controlled by the rich and powerful for centuries because it is crucial for them to promote, instill and influence propaganda into the minds of the public in order to maintain the current capitalist system that now exists to serve them and not benefit the whole. For example, ‘Capitalism breeds innovation and wealth, socialism causes wars, terror and poverty.’ Same old chants meant to demonise socialism echoed in every argument brought forth by capitalists Do not look to the media or the current politicians for answers, instead look to scholars, researchers, activists and those who dedicate their lives to care for the people who are treated unfairly and unjustly. It takes time to unlearn what society has taught us to believe, but the world is changing. We are approaching an era of multitudes of uncertainties; depleting resources worldwide, the biggest gap in economic inequality worldwide, global crisis after crisis under the capitalist and imperialist regimes which we can see now have radicalised the public into fighting for change rather than relying on the powerful for solutions. Mass protests, massive online campaigns with worldwide followings have connected the public to learn and realise how the capitalist system has failed – from wage, gender, class, race equality and to even the right to healthcare, it has failed the weakest and only served the richest.
- How familiar are you with Malaysia’s left wing history? Are there particular leaders you admire?
I look up to the current normal members of PSM today because their everyday struggles and efforts to help are still visible and they still persist in fighting for the people until today. I’m currently participating in PSM’s ideology classes which educates members on Malaysian’s left-wing history.
- 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?
Honestly, no. I officially registered as a member in April 2019 and being a new member, I see a slow and steady growth of influence in favour of PSM. We do have a long fight ahead of us and limited time, but I believe this is the right situation to be in as we need to mindfully and carefully play our cards right while we navigate our way into the current political landscape. Rome was not built in a day, but it burned in one.
- Do you see any differences between BN and PH rule?
No. Same old players, dedicated in preserving and protecting the same game that benefits none but the rich and powerful. Now it’s even more chaotic and embarrassing when ministers with ‘accredited qualifications’ acts stupidly in the parliament or releases stupid statements only for us to scrutinise them even more than before.
- What can be done to broaden PSM’s appeal, particularly among young people and non-Indians?
Being a non-indian Malaysian citizen, I can personally say that PSM is inclusive and continuously welcomes those who are interested in a better future for Malaysia. The struggle is mostly visibility as we have no dedicated full-time staff for any online/offline promotion and publicity, and It’s mainly an issue of funding too. To start, we would need to maximise the use of social media with left-wing ideologies targeted for a broader audience using the sensationalism the media is so accustomed to use in grabbing the readers’ attention. We should not be afraid of being vocal of our left-wing ideologies.
PSM needs to find those who are determined to make a change for the benefit of all, not just a selected demographic. For those who are sick and tired of the same old political shenanigans and continue to be a victim of the oppressed system meant to enslave people, I urge you to at least get to know us and what PSM fights for. Chances are, we’re already fighting for what you want to fight for too.
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