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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thumbs up for PSM’s move to join Pakatan

Several political analysts say that PSM's possible entry into Pakatan Rakyat will strengthen the opposition pact, but one analyst says that it depends on the socialist party's intention.
PETALING JAYA: Political analysts have lauded Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s (PSM) eagerness to join Pakatan Rakyat.
However, USM political analyst Dr Mohamad Zaini Abu Bakar said whether PSM would be a boon or a bane to Pakatan would depend on the socialist party’s intention.
“If they are just forming an electoral pact for the general election, then I anticipate some jostling for seats which will affect Pakatan’s status quo,” he added.
Yesterday, PSM secrteary-general S Arutchelvan said his party was keen to join the opposition pact and had written to Pakatan on its interest in September.
Zaini said if PSM intended to join Pakatan with an open heart, it would further strengthen the opposition pact in the long run.
However, the analyst said PSM would have to find a common denominator with Pakatan in terms of ideology and be prepared to make some sacrifices for it.
“That itself could be a problem as Pakatan’s ideology itself is unclear. As for Barisan Nasional, we can see that it strives for development, nationalism and so on,” he added.
He also said PSM’s entry into Pakatan would only sway urban voters as they lacked support from rural areas.
“And most voters in Malaysia still dwell in rural areas,” he added.
Minimum wage snag
Independent analyst Khoo Kay Peng, however, said that it would be good for Pakatan to accept small parties like PSM into its fold
“Although a small party, it has committed members at its disposal. Pakatan should consider allowing small parties in. BN is geared towards the majority and losing out on minority voices,” he pointed out.
Khoo said that PSM would fit well in Pakatan’s fold as they shared common views on many issues such as providing free education.
“That’s why I’m not surprised by the announcement. In the last few years, PSM and Pakatan leaders have worked together well,” he said.
On Pakatan being a “union of strange bedfellows” as alleged by some quarters, Khoo dismissed the notion saying even Pakatan had implemented some socialist-type policies in the states it was ruling.
“For example, Selangor’s free water policy and Penang’s RM100 aid to the elderly. It’s a socialist thing.
“Even Pakatan’s free education call and PAS’ welfare state policy is socialist in nature,” he said.
UCSI political analyst Ong Kian Meng concurred with Khoo’s assessment, saying PSM and Pakatan shared many things in common.
“PSM itself has agreed to support Pakatan’s common policy framework. Besides, the socialist party’s members stood by their principles even during tough times,” he said.
However, he said that Pakatan and PSM disagreed on the minimum wage quantum.
While PSM champions for a minimum wage of RM1,500, Pakatan leaders announced that the coalition would only support for the minimum wage to be capped at RM1,100.
“This needs to be sorted out between both parties,” said Ong.
Contacted later, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu said PSM’s application would be considered at the Pakatan’s leadership council meeting slated to be held soon.
“Personally, I welcome anyone to join Pakatan but it all depends on our presidential council meeting,” he said.

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