What is your name, age and profession?
Kesavan, 27. I am an activist at Pemuda Sosialis (organising a rural student group at Perak) and still studying at UPM.
What drew you to PSM? When did you join the party?
At first I was interested in the Socialist Youth free education campaign. The mission and ideology of PSM that tries to create a system that does not discriminate and which upholds equality is the second thing that attracted me. Then my seeking for a solution for poverty eradication led me to choose an activist party, which PSM is. After I finished my STPM, I joined PSM.
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?
Fake propaganda and news are the major reason. Because mainstream media is hugely funded and operated by America and by capitalist countries. But the majority of society wants equality and brotherhood in society, which is the basis of socialism. Moreover in countries like Bolivia and Venezuela, people are electing socialist governments again to be their government because of the good people-oriented policy and programmes that were successfully implemented there. Cuba, the socialist country is the no1 country in public health and education sectors.
How familiar are you with Malaysia’s left wing history? Are there particular leaders you admire?
I know about the contribution of the left movements such as PMFTU, KMM, MPAJA, PKM, API and AWAS in the struggle for independence of Malaya. My inspiration is Ahmad Boestamam and Samsiah Fakeh.
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?
There are some disappointments with election results. But the party won many struggles and successfully conducted many campaigns. For example the minimum wage campaign and employee insurance scheme were two of PSM’s major campaigns since the 90s. However the party has a lack of publicity because of low media coverage and financial issues. This is one of the reasons the party is not growing as fast as other parties. Also all the activists in the party are busy focusing on peoples’ struggles rather than recruiting new members.
Do you see any differences between BN and PH rule?
Not much difference. Both are advocating neoliberal policies that suppress workers ’rights and livelihood.
What can be done to broaden PSM’s appeal, particularly among young people and non-Indians?
Our youth wing (Socialist Youth) is getting more and more non-Indian members now. We are very different in terms of ethnicity now. So we think we should continue our good work. At the same time we must continue to reach more youths. The party should also conduct more discussions, workshops and forums with rural youths. In addition, we should promote the PSM internship program to students from time to time.
To join Parti Sosialis Malaysia, please access the application form by clicking on this link!