Only logical for PSM to use own logo

S Arutchelvan

This statement is in response to the media statement or comments made by Azmin Ali which appeared in Malaysiakini (14 February 2011) and Malaysian Insider (15 February, 2011) pertaining to PSM standing as PKR candidates using PKR logo in the coming elections.

Azmin spoke about the discussion held with Sdr Anwar Ibrahim but we would like to confine to issues raised by Azmin and not on the broader issues discussed with Anwar because that was a private meeting.

Azmin said that they have no problem with PSM contesting under their banner as PSM has shown strong loyalty to the cause and must adhere to the common policies of Pakatan. He was also quoted in The Malaysian Insider for saying, “ They have been loyal to us, more so than some of those who ran and defected. So we have no problem giving them another two seats as long as they continue to stand with us”.

It is important to clarify PSM position in this matter which has a historical bearing. PSM stood in three national general elections – 1999, 2004 and 2008. In all these elections, PSM borrowed the symbol of the opposition party as PSM was not given the registration resulting in the party dragging the home minister to court. In all these previous elections, PSM was consistent in the following:

  1. Making public announcement on PSM candidates for the election and which logo we wanted to use.
  2. Making asset declarations of the candidates standing
  3. Releasing our own party manifesto
  4. All leaflets released by the party during the elections bore two logos – of PSM and the logo of the registered party which PSM is contesting under
  5. We flew our flag side by side with the flag of the registered party’s logo which are contesting under.

In the 1999 elections, PSM was to stand in 2 parliament seats – Sungai Siput and Subang using DAP logo. We were offered other seats but we refused to stand in those seats because we have strict ruling that only candidates who have done work in an area for than more 5 years are eligible to contest in elections. But finally we stood only in Sungai Siput and pulled out from the Subang seat on nomination day to give way for Irene Fernandez so as to avoid a three corner fight.

In the 2004 general election, PSM stood in four seats using PKR’s logo. We stood in two parliament and two state seats which are Subang and Sungai Siput Parliament and Bukit Lanjan and Jalong state seats respectively. Sadly we were three cornered in three of the seats by DAP but DAP candidate in Bukit Lanjan was disqualified when they did not post the deposit money for elections.

In the other two seats – Sungai Siput Parliament and Jalong State seat, PSM candidates using PKR logo came second while DAP candidate came third. This is a very important note because in all other seats where there were three cornered fights between PKR and DAP, the result was DAP coming second and PKR losing their deposits. It is therefore clear to us that in these 2 seats – Sungai Siput parliamentary seat and Jalong – it was because of PSM candidates that PKR beat DAP in the three cornered fight. In Sungai Siput, the DAP candidate lost his deposit.

Now in the 2008 election, similar negotiations were done with PKR where we once again used PKR’s logo based on mutual consent. This time we decided to drop our Subang parliamentary seat and went for only one parliamentary seat (Sg Siput) and three state seats – Kota Damansara in exchange with Subang parliamentary seat (previously under PAS in 2004) and Semenyih (previously under PAS, 2004) in exchange for the Bukit Lanjan state seat. But we had a problem in securing a state seat in Perak. Previously in 2004 we stood in Jalong. We then in our negotiation asked DAP to give us either the Jalong or Jelapang state seats and finally both the seats were denied to PSM.

PSM then at the very last minute decided to contest as an independent in Jelapang as PKR already had a pact with DAP and our registration was not approved yet. In jelapang, we asked DAP to give us the seat and avoid a three corners fight but finally DAP contested and won. In the 2004 election Keadilan candidate who was a former MP Foo Tiew Kok gained only 358 votes in a 3 cornered fight in Jelapang.

In 2008 our independent PSM candidate decided to stand last minute and gained 1,275 votes in a 3 cornered fight despite of the political tsunami. Now in hindsight, the DAP candidate who won Jelapang defected and DAP not only lost a seat but lost the entire state government to BN. In retrospect, if PSM had been allowed to stand in Jelapang and DAP had given way, perhaps Perak would still be with PR.

These are historical facts. Today for the first time, PSM is a registered political party. Many people and the parties such as PKR, DAP and PAS supported our cause and campaigned with PSM in our fight to register a political party. All these parties also attended PSM’s victory celebration after the party was finally registered after 10 years of struggle. It took another one year battle before PSM’s logo was accepted by SPR in 2009.

Our position today is that PSM is agreeable to use a common opposition logo and even have an election pact with Pakatan and agree to a Pakatan led manifesto if there are no glaring contradictions. But in a situation where there is no common logo and each party is going to use their own logo, we feel that it is only fair to allow PSM to use its own logo in places which PSM would be contesting.

Before our party was registered, we contested under other friendly parties logo and as said by Azmin, PSM did not backstab the Pakatan like many of their own members have done. It is therefore only logical that PSM be allowed to stand in areas where PSM is contesting.

It would look idiotic for the party not to use its own logo after fighting 11 years against the State to get it registered and it would look ridiculous that this right is now denied not by the BN but by the Pakatan.

PSM has explained to Sdr Anwar on the reasons why PSM wants to be friends of Pakatan and not be a member of Pakatan because this relationship will benefit both sides and we will continue to explain to Pakatan parties if the needs arises.

On the extra seats which Azmin is offering besides the four we have already contested, PSM feels that our intention is to see the end of BN rule and we do not plan to demand for many seats in spite of PSM being able to field more candidates.

We believe that the best candidates should be allowed to contest. PSM is not going to demand seats in only “safe” places or demand a huge number of seats…we just want to contest in a few seats which we have put in tremendous work in last few years and help Pakatan in other seats.

We will continue to negotiate with Pakatan as our partners in arms in our quest to dethrone the BN.

S Arutchelvan is Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s (PSM) secretary general.