Wednesday, April 17, 2013

‘PKR has fallen for BN propaganda’ (FMT)

‘PKR has fallen for BN propaganda’

Lisa J. Ariffin  | April 17, 2013
PSM's Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj speaks on the party's controversial logo, the BN manifesto, and giving in to Pakatan for the sake of a better Malaysia.
PETALING JAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) has been under the spotlight lately following PKR’s recent announcement to field candidates in the former’s contested seats.
Despite its continuous support for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat pact over the years, PSM is now left between a rock and a hard place following PKR’s decision, paving the way for a possible three-cornered showdown in most of the four seats it aims to contest.
Yesterday, PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan announced his party’s agreement to use the symbols of other Pakatan parties instead of its clenched fist logo in next month’s general election.
However, he stressed that PSM would not back down from the contested seats.
In an exclusive interview, PSM’s incumbent Sungai Siput parliamentarian Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj speaks on the party’s controversial logo, the Barisan Nasional manifesto, and agreeing to use symbols of other Pakatan parties for the sake of a better Malaysia.
FMT: Why do you think PKR is so dead set against PSM’s party logo?
Jeyakumar: They (PKR) claim it is not only from them but from PAS and DAP as well. They say it will affect the Malay votes in rural areas. They’re afraid that by supporting our logo, they will charged with colliding with a communist and anti-religious party. So, they are saying there will be a problem.
But they have fallen for the government’s propaganda that PSM promotes violence, communism and anti-religious sentiments. In truth, these issues are used to silence the socialists when we question the country’s uneven economic structure.
Why is PSM putting up with PKR’s abuses? Is it not akin to bullying?
Firstly, it is a question of survival. If they insist on standing on their own logo, there is going to be three-cornered fights. This means for Sungai Siput, it is impossible to win.
There is no doubt we are being bullied, but we are a small party and we will stand to lose.
Secondly, if we were to go face-to-face against Pakatan, it will work to the benefit of BN… it would impact the votes for PKR and Pakatan.
Of course, it is unfair for us but we still want Pakatan to win as they are the better choice for this country, despite their imperfections.
What do you think your chances are in Sungai Siput?
I think we have a reasonable chance. Standing under PKR doesn’t mean we’re defecting from our cause. In fact, we have done a lot of work in the past 13 years in Sungai Siput. We have generally gone down to meet and talk to the people, and have been on good terms with the them – that’s our strong point.

PSM won’t back down
What are your thoughts on the BN manifesto?
The BN manifesto has a lot of inconsistencies. They talk about having an annual BR1M (financial aid) of RM1,000 to help the poor without recognising the cause of them being under financial pressure in the first place.
One of the reasons people are in this situation is BN privatising basic services to benefit their cronies. The more you make it a business, the more the costs go up.
Ultimately, all those extra costs and perks to benefit their cronies go back to the consumer.
The BN manifesto doesn’t address this… the root problem is not being addressed at all.
Basic services cannot be left to profit motives, it must be left the cheaper way.
Is PSM going to field secretary B Suresh Kumar in Cameron Highlands to reflect the sentiments of the people?
No. We will only field Suresh if DAP agrees so we won’t make it a three-cornered fight. Cameron has not been on the table. However, Jelapang is, and we will not back down.
What is the latest update on the Jelapang seat?
We have been trying to talk to DAP but there has been no response so far.
We have suggested forming a committee of five members from five different NGOs including Bersih, ABU (Anything But Umno) and Aliran and we will each explain to them why the seat should go to our respective parties.
The committee will then decide which party would field the best candidate. We have already said that if we win, we will pledge support to the formation of a Pakatan government in Perak, so we are still hoping to discuss with the DAP.

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