Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Behind bars, Jeyakumar says remains socialist

July 20, 2011
Jeyakumar: This is not the world that I wish to bequeath my grandchildren. That is why I am a socialist and intend to remain so despite the EO arrest.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Devaraj Jeyakumar has insisted he will not waver from his socialist beliefs despite being held under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) for allegedly attempting to revive communism.

In a statement released late yesterday, the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader said that current economic practices both locally and globally were an unsustainable “race to the bottom.”

“This is not the world that I wish to bequeath my grandchildren. That is why I am a socialist and intend to remain so despite the EO arrest,” he wrote after three weeks in detention.

Dr Jeyakumar was among 30 PSM members arrested on June 25 for allegedly planning to “wage war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong” and attempting to revive communist in part of a dragnet leading up to the July 9 Bersih rally.

Police found in their possession T-shirts bearing the likenesses of former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leaders Chin Peng and Rashid Maidin.

Police later dropped all charges but immediately rearrested the lawmaker and five others under the EO on July 2 and charged the remaining 24 for possession of Bersih material and involvement in an illegal organisation.

In the aftermath of the chaotic rally, Bersih and opposition leaders as well as human rights activists have pushed for the release of the six.

This comes as the Najib administration has embarked on a damage control exercise due to the stinging tone taken by the international press over its handling of the demonstration calling for free and fair elections.

In his statement yesterday, Dr Jeyakumar called for a “workable alternative to an economy driven by corporate greed.”

He maintained that despite the general opinion that socialism “has been assigned to the dustbin of history” and is only championed by “deluded people,” it was still crucial in “averting a collosal economic-ecological disaster that will occur within the next 30-60 years.”

“The global owners of capital and technological expertise who control market access are a relatively small number of corporations – about 500 to 1000. They have become all powerful in the unipolar world of today and can “bargain hunt”. Even the biggest governments can’t control them,” he wrote.

He specifically pointed out that Malaysia’s policies to attract investors, including lowering corporate tax, allowing contractualising of labour and weakening unions as well as privatisation of basic services such as healthcare and tertiary education, was piling pressure on the poorest 70 per cent of the population.

The National Economic Advisory Council has said that 40 per cent of Malaysian households are still living on RM1,500 per month or less.

“The issue here is not insufficient regulations but a misdistribution of the world’s wealth! To address this problem, the power of the corporations has to be challenged,” Dr Jeyakumar added.

He stressed that these patterns if left unchecked could “lead to an ecological, food or climatic disaster that will lead to a decimation of the world’s population.”

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