Kuala Lumpur, 28 September 2007

This morning, more than three thousand Burmese protesters, most of them wearing red marched in the street of Kuala Lumpur. They walked from Ampang Park to the Burmese Embassy, 2 kilometers away. There they had a very organized peaceful demonstration facing the local Riot police who were guarding the Embassy. Then they proceeded to the Chinese Embassy and the Russian Embassy to hand over a memorandum.

The demonstration was a joint effort of nine Burmese Organizations here. Most of the protesters wore a headscarf, carried posters, and banners denouncing the military junta, calling for the killing to stop and demanding democracy. Many also carried symbols symbolizing Buddha and portraits of Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

Only a handful of Malaysians was among the crowd to give solidarity. PSM’s Secretary-General S.Arutchelvan in solidarity marched with the protesters to the three protest points. Among some of the organizations present were SUARAM, AI, and HAKAM. The protesters were very disciplined, very organized and had the entire program carried with such discipline and precision. The marshals kept the crowd in control. Many protesters took leave while in some places, the employer had to shut down the business today as almost all the workers were gone demonstrating. Most of those present today expressed anxiety about the situation back home.  The spirits were high throughout the program. The Malaysian police force who came in full force were amazed by the mobilization by the Burmese and maintained traffic control as well was very restrained.

It was a day when the diverse Burmese community came down with one message – Junta out! Democracy Now!

PRESS STATEMENT: 10 October 2007


How would the space mission solve our problems?

Party Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is amused by the fanatical atmosphere and the publicity generated on the launch of the first Malaysian to space. It is yet another desperate move by the ruling party to beat up the drums on this space mission after the 50 years Merdeka celebration fizzled out and when people came back to reality. Now it is a space fantasy which is taking us on another ride of the Malaysian Boleh trip.

The reality is Malaysia exchanged palm oil for a space trip. In October 2003, the Malaysian Government signed an agreement with Russia where Russia will buy RM1.1 billion worth of palm oil and send a Malaysian into space as part of a multi-billion-ringgit deal for 18 Sukhoi 30-MKM fighter jets.

Besides that Capitalism has taken science to yet another new dimension with the introduction of space tourism.  Space tourism is a new phenomenon of filthy rich individuals and private companies paying to go to space. The price for a flight brokered by Space Adventures to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft is now $30 million. Flights are fully booked until 2009. Among some of the people who have gone to space since Dennis Tito became the first “fee-paying” passenger in 2001 are South African computer millionaire Mark Shuttleworth and Gregory Olsen an owner of a company that produces specialist high-sensitivity cameras.

According to Alexei Krasnov, head of the Russian space agency’s manned programs said that four space tourists have paid about $20 million for the pleasure of spending a week on the orbital station and said that each tourist flight deal is discussed individually and is considered a commercial secret. The latest space tourist, Anousheh Ansari, 40, an Iranian-born American businesswoman, returned to Earth after paying around $20 million for about eight days in space. The Malaysian  Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor (SMS) is the latest of the list of space tourists.

While the Malaysians are kept busy with news on roti canai in space and fasting in space which is seen as new breakthroughs in science, the truth is before this Malaysian, more than 400 people have traveled to space, not including many monkeys, chimpanzees,  mice, frogs, tortoise, fish, and dogs. Many of them have sacrificed or being sacrificed in many missions.

The question before us is how this mission is going to resolve our problems on planet earth.  PSM seeks answers on how can a space mission, worth billion of ringgit resolve the following problems faced by the nation :

1.                  Increasing Ethnic and racial disharmony

2.                  Increasing the income gap of the rich and poor

3.                  Increasing corruption at all levels

4.                  Suppression of democratic rights – free and fair election, rights to assembly, expression and association, free media and others.

5.                  Increasing suffering incurred by the people with the rising of basic goods, fuel prices, and controlled items.

6.                  The suffering incurred with the introduction of privatization and neo-liberal policies such as privatization of health care, water, and other basic amenities.

7.                  The suppression of workers through pro-employer bills while workers are denied a basic living wage.

8.                  The continues decline of the Judiciary

Millions of ringgit are spent and wasted to send one person to space while the money could have been put in good use to improve the livelihood of the common people. While the ruling party points us to the star and takes us for a ride in space, this mission is just an ego trip by a Government that has lost its purpose and sense on what needs to be done for the betterment of the people.

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