Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Parti Rakyat Malaysia (From Wikipedia)

Parti Rakyat Malaysia

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The Malaysian People's Party (PRM, Parti Rakyat Malaysia in Malay) is a Malaysian political party. Parti Rakyat means People's Party in Malay.

Parti Rakyat was one of the oldest political parties in Malaysia. It was founded by Ahmad Boestaman and other independent fighters in November 11, 1955. Inspired by independent struggle in Indonesia led by Sukarno, the party in its formative years subscribe to a Pan-Malay/Indonesia nationalism. Unlike its contemporary UMNO (which later became the ruling party until today), Parti Rakyat demanded total independent from British colonialism.

In the 50s and 60s, Parti Rakyat forged a coalition with Parti Buruh (Labour Party) known as Socialist Front which dominated the local councils in Peninsular Malaysia. The growing power of the left resulted heavy crackdown by the UMNO government. In 1963, soon after the outbreak of the Konfrontasi between Malaya and Indonesia, the Alliance government began yet another massive round up of politicians and activists among the opposition. Among those arrested and detained were Ahmad Boestaman (president of PRM), Ishak Haji Muhammad (president of PBM), Abdul Aziz Ishak (head of GERAM), Datuk Kampo Radjo (later the president of PRM), Tan Kai Hee, Tan Hock Hin, Dr. Rajakumar, Hasnul Hadi, Tajuddin Kahar and hundreds of others.

The Socialist Front eventually dissolved under strong state repression. When racial riot broke out in 1969, the ruling UMNO consolidated its grip and local council election was abolished. Parti Rakyat lost it prominence in parliamentary politics. In 1970s, under a new leadership of Kassim Ahmad, a university professional, Parti Rakyat adopted a more radical socialist ideology. Party constituition was amended and renamed Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM) or Malaysian People's Socialist Party. Despite the transformation, PSRM failed to make inroad in parliamentary election. Its socialist outfit provided the state an excuse for more repression. Many of its leaders continued to be arrested and detained under ISA. The president, Kassim Ahmad himself was detained.

In early 1980s Datuk Kampo Radjo, former Selangor EXCO member was elected as the President. In late 1980s, the party elected a new leadership included Dr Syed Husin Ali as president and Dr Sanusi Osman as secretary general. Both were a well respected university professors, and they were terminated from their university career under Malaysian repressive law.

The congress of PSRM in 1989 reverted its name to the original Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM). In 1990 general election, PRM collaborated with other opposition parties to form an alliance known as Gagasan Rakyat (People's Alliance). It was a major attempt to break the UMNO-led ruling coalition. The alliance successfully reduced the ruling parties dominance, but PRM failed again to win any seat.

During the outbreak of Reformasi, the newly formed Parti Keadilan Nasional led by sacked Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim began to explore the possibility of merger between the two parties. However the merger was delayed by the refusal of the authorities. The two parties only officially merged in August 3, 2003. As a result of the merger, the party is now known as Parti Keadilan Rakyat Malaysia (People's Justice Party).

However a few leaders of Parti Rakyat Malaysia disagreed to be merged into the new entity. On 17 April, 2005, Parti Rakyat Malaysia members who are against merger held a National Congress in Johor Bahru and elected a new leadership to carry on the struggle of the party.

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