[Marxism] PSM warns of martial law threat in Malaysia

PPZ ppz at optusnet.com.au
Sun Jun 29 05:20:30 MDT 2008

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) Statement 29 JUNE 2008


              Mobilise Peoples' Power to Defend Democracy!


Post March 2008 is a period of great promise. Now both fronts, the
Barisan Nasional [ruling National Front] and the Pakatan Rakyat
[opposition People's Front], have to compete to prove themselves to the
people of Malaysia. There is no doubt that the breaking of the 2/3
majority in Parliament as well as the conquest of 5 states by the
Pakatan Rakyat has propelled Malaysian politics into a new era.

However it is an era that has great risks as well. UMNO is now akin to
an injured tiger. Still strong because it is still the largest single
party in the country and it practically controls the levers of
government at the Federal level. However it faces the hitherto unthought
of possibility of losing control of the Federal Government either at the
next elections or even sooner if Anwar and the PR can induce enough BN
MPs to cross over.

To understand the gravity of the situation for UMNO one has to ask
oneself – if the PR takes control of the Federal Government, what will
the state of the BN election apparatus be after 3 years of PR rule? Will
UMNO still have the human capital as well as the large money chest to
conduct the next election campaign? Will UMNO members and supporters
stay loyal to UMNO for 3 years if there are no more financial goodies in
the form of contracts, projects and hand-outs?    

Members of opposition parties are used to losing (by fair means and
foul) time after again, and a much higher percentage of them will stay
with their respective parties even in defeat. But that is not the case
with UMNO. Money politics can buy support quickly – but that only lasts
as long as the money supply does not dry up! In reality, the UMNO elite
face political oblivion if they lose control of the Federal Purse as
they most certainly will if they lose control of the Federal Government.
(As a quick check – the Annual Budget of Selangor, the richest State
Government in Malaysia, is about RM 1.4 billion, while that of the
Federal Government is in excess of  RM 150 billion! And this is not
taking into account the massive assets held by the Federal Government
through the GLCs). UMNO's continued control of 7 State Governments will
not enable it to keep all its cronies well supplied with projects and

So this brings us back to the crucial question – will that section of
the Malay political and economic elite who are dependent on UMNO's
ascendancy to maintain their status and power be prepared to go quietly
out of office if the PR stages a cross-over, or will they resort to
unparliamentary means to re-assert control through emergency
declaration, suspension of parliament and military-police rule as was
done in 1969?

Some of the leaders of the PR are worried about this possibility and are
hoping that the  Police and the Armed Forces will remain neutral and
allow parliamentary democracy to take its course – bringing down a
government by a no-confidence vote is part and parcel of the
parliamentary process! There is the perception among some that the
Malaysian Royalty may play a pivotal role in the position that the
Military will take, which is why there is some exasperation with
[opposition lawyer] Karpal's critical questioning of the Royalty.

Coming back to UMNO, it is possible that a faction within UMNO will try
and suspend the parliamentary process by declaring a national emergency
and ruling through a military-police-UMNO cabinet, in order to beat down
the strong challenge to their hegemony. To succeed in this, they will
need to create a public order disturbance of sufficient proportions to
be able to pass off their "coup' as something that had to be done in the
interest of the nation. In Malaysia, there is a high chance of that
taking an ethnic nature. They just need the police to step aside to
allow several scores of BN-linked thugs  to wreak some racial violence
for a few days before stepping in to declare Emergency rule.

I agree, Malaysia of 2008 is not the Malaysia of 1969. There is has been
significant progress in the inclusion of the Malays in the modern sector
of the economy. The NEP has borne some fruit! Also Malay corporate
leaders and shareholders will not like to see any political turmoil as
this will affect the stock market and the economy. The majority of
Malaysians abhor inter-racial violence. However a small faction
intending to create the pretext for emergency rule does not need to
instigate the majority of any racial group to start off inter-ethnic
violence. They have sufficient thugs in their pay-roll to do the work
for them as we saw in Batu Buruk, Batu Caves during the Hindraf
demonstration of November 2007, and more recently in the Cheras toll
road incident. Innocent people will be hurt in this desperate attempt by
an UMNO faction to hold back the tide of change.   

I agree that the above scenario is not a certainty – infact the chances
of these events occurring are low. But serious actors in the political
scene have to be prepared for eventualities. We must have our
contingency plans. I think we  (PAS, Reformasi, Makkal Sakthi, JERIT and
PSM) have the resources and the support of the rakyat to dampen down and
stop ethnic attacks. We need to be ready to mobilize our members and
supporters such that we can send multi-ethnic peace corps comprising of
men and women to communities under threat of ethnic-attacks by the
thugs. These Peace Corps should mobilize the local communities concerned
to organize joint patrols of the localities in question. While the Peace
Corps maintain peace and order in the streets, the leaders of the PR can
negotiate with the powers that be that the issue be resolved through
legitimate parliamentary processes.    

It was Peoples' Power that brought the Pakatan Rakyat into existence!
There wasn't even a murmur regarding the Pakatan Rakyat prior to 8/3/08.
The win handed to the opposition in 5 states made the Pakatan Rakyat a
necessity, and moved Malaysian democracy a big step forward. Suspension
of Parliament and rule under Emergency Regulations would be 3 steps
backwards! The People have to defend the political gains they have
brought about, and I believe that they will if we give them the
necessary leadership.

Contingency plans need to be talked about and decided before the
emergency situation arises. I hope the main groups mentioned above who
have been using people-mobilisation as part of our political/campaign
strategy will come together to provide the necessary leadership for the
defence of democracy as well as to prevent the shedding of innocent

Released by :

Dr. Jeyakumar
PSM Central Committee Member [and newly elected federal MP]

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