Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM, Socialist Party of Malaysia), is a socialist political party in Malaysia and an offshoot of Parti Rakyat Malaysia, which originally upheld the same ideology. In its first ten years following its founding in 1998, the party was notably denied registration as a political party by the Federal Government of Malaysia, the original reason given by the government is that PSM is a threat to national security, before the Home Ministry gave them the green light in June 2008.

As of 1 November 2009, the party has one seat in the Dewan Rakyat, the Sungei Siput seat, of which its candidate Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj won under the banner of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.


The end of PSRM (1990)

The last socialist party to exist in Malaysia, Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM), reverted their name to Parti Rakyat Malaysia in 1990 before merging with Parti Keadilan Rakyat in 2003.

Formation of PSM (1990-1998)

In 1991, several grassroots based organizations working with the urban and rural poor in Malaysia started to form an alliance. In 1994, they staged a massive demonstration at the heart of Kuala Lumpur surprising many people. The last major demonstration called by the working class in the capital city goes way back two decades ago.

In 1995, these grassroots organization who already had their strong bases among the plantation workers, urban poor slums and industrial workers formed an alliance and together the idea to form a political party to represent the aspirations of the poor and the marginalized was mooted. The election results in 1995 hastened this process and after years of discussion and consolidations, it was finally agreed that a party with socialist ideology was imminent to liberate the masses from their current conditions.

With this in mind, the groups took more than two and the half years to draft the party's constitution, which was ready by the end of 1997. After further consultation with the masses, on May 1, 1998, the new party known as the Socialist Party of Malaysia was officially put for registration.

Legal status

The Federal Government has refused to recognise PSM since its formation. The ruling party has rejected the party's application to register as a political party citing that PSM is a threat to national Security. While PSM activities have been transparent and open confrontation, the ruling party seems uneasy to see a socialist party in its backyard.

The right to form a political party is a constitutional right and PSM became the first party in Malaysia's history to take the ruling party and the Home Minister to court for abusing their power. Although the Court of Appeal dismissed the national security argument on 16 August 2006, which the court felt was a bad reason, it upheld another reason to deny PSM the right to be registered. This was that the party did not comply with a seven state regulation. PSM has filed an appeal against the Court of Appeal decision to the Federal Court.

On June 17, 2008, the Home Ministry approved PSM's application as a political party, ending a 10-year dispute.[1][2]

1999 general election

In 1999, the party decided to contest in the year's general election. Since PSM was not registered, it had to contest under some other party's logo. In 1999, the candidates contested under a Democratic Action Party's (DAP) ticket. The main intention was to popularise the party. The party lost in its seat but managed to reduce the opponent's majority by 10,000 votes.

2004 general election

File:Election 2004.jpg

PSM candidates fielded for the 2004 general election.

In the 2004 general election, PSM had to contest on the logo of another party, Parti Keadilan Nasional (now known as Parti Keadilan Rakyat).

2008 general election

Three PSM members contested in the 2008 general election under the Keadilan ticket, and one as an independent. Two of these candidates won PSM's first ever political seats. Candidate Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj won PSM's first ever federal parliamentary seat by defeating then president of Malaysian Indian Congress and long-serving Minister of Works Samy Vellu. PSM's president Nasir Hashim won a seat in the Selangor state legislative assembly. Their election campaigning also resulted in an increase in membership in Semenyih.[3]


According to their official website, PSM is only eight years old but has working experience with the masses that goes back more than fifteen years. Over the years, the party's three main front organizations had established more than a hundred sub-fronts. PSM strength lies in its work done with the masses especially the plantation workers, the urban poor, the Industrial workers and the peasants. The party also collaborates with the progressive student movement. PSM remain today perhaps the only party in Malaysia taking a class line and highlighting the plight of the poor from low wages, forceful eviction to retrenchment. The party has also made some inroads into organising union in the last two year and have working committees in around 50 factories throughout the country. While civil and political protest are carried out by the main stream political parties, PSM continues to support and organise pickets, strike and demonstration among the working class.

Seven-Point Manifesto

PSM has a seven-point manifesto which lists the following policies [4]:

  1. Workers' rights will be safeguarded (e.g. minimum wage, automatic recognition of workers unions and 90 day maternal leave).
  2. The eradication of neo-liberal policies (e.g. halting privatisation of health care, education and other public necessities).
  3. Stopping the Free Trade Agreement with western imperial powers.
  4. Provide comfortable and humane housing for both rural and urban inhabitants.
  5. Stopping racial and religious politics to foster greater unity among the people.
  6. Eradication of corruption and abuse of power.
  7. Stopping the destruction of the environment.

Issues and recent news


On April 1, 2008, accompanied by Friends of Kota Damansara (FOKD) and Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), PSM's Nasir Hashim led the delegation in talks with Selangor's newly appointed State Exco for Environmental Affairs, Elizabeth Wong to gazette the Kota Damansara forest.[5]

Healthcare, FTA and patent laws

PSM MP, Kumar Devaraj, spoke out in April 2008 against private hospitals, the Malaysia-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and patents.[6]

Carrefour hypermarket protest

On 15 April 2008, 100 residents led by PSM committee member and state representative, Nashir Hashim, protested against the construction of a Carrefour hypermarket in Kota Damansara.[7]

Racism and class perspectives

In January 2008, Aliran Monthly published an analysis of the Hindraf rally by PSM committee member, Kumar Devaraj, in which he wrote that class-based mobilisation should be used instead of ethnic-based mobilisation to rally the oppressed.[8]

See also


  1. "PSM allowed to register as political party" (fee required), Malaysiakini, June 17, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-06-18. 
  2. "PSM allowed to register as political party", Official Socialist Party of Malaysia website. Retrieved on 2008-06-20. 
  3. Peter Boyle, Electoral break-through to test socialists, Green Left Weekly, 29 March 2008
  4. Seven Part Manifesto, Official Socialist Party of Malaysia website. Retrieved 21 August 2010
  5. A. Sivarajan, Stop the destruction, gazette the Kota Damansara forest, Parti Sosialis Malaysia, 2 April 2008
  6. R. Nadeswaran and T. Fernandez Fighting for fair play, The Sun, 3 April 2008
  7. Debbie Chan, Residents all out to stop hypermarket project, The Star, 15 April 2008
  8. Jeyakumar Devaraj, Why the Hindraf approach is misguided, Aliran Monthly, 18 January 2008

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