PETALING JAYA, 29 April 2009: The Election Commission (EC) has approved Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)’s clenched-fist logo and it can now be used in future elections.
(Courtesy of PSM)PSM secretary general S Arutchelvan said the party received the approval letter dated 20 April from the EC on 24 April.
PSM sought to register their party with the commission in September 2008. The party was registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) on 19 Aug 2008 after a decade-long struggle.
However, the EC told PSM on 13 Feb 2009 that they found the party’s clenched fist logo contains “connotations of violence” and is “morally unsuitable”, and rejected the application. The EC’s move effectively denied PSM the right to field its candidates in any elections under its own banner.
The party subsequently submitted a memorandum to EC chairperson Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof on 19 March to protest against the EC’s decision. In the memorandum, the party questioned the EC’s rationale in rejecting the application, saying: “The role of the EC is purely administrative and it should not interfere with decisions that have been approved by the home ministry and ROS.”
“We consulted our lawyers and were planning to bring the case to the court; we believed we had a good case,” Arutchelvan told The Nut Graph.
“The clenched fist is a common logo used by socialist parties in other countries; it symbolises the solidarity of oppress people.
“The white fist in our logo symbolises the purity of the struggle while the red background symbolises the struggle.”
He said the EC’s 20 April letter did not state any reason for the approval, or mention anything about the EC’s problem with the logo in February. “It merely states that the EC has met on 15 April regarding our application submitted last September, and decided to approve our application,” Arutchelvan said.
Jeyakumar Established in 1998, PSM is the only socialist party in the country and is led by Selangor state assemblyperson Dr Nasir Hashim. It has one other elected representative, Dr D Jeyakumar, who is Member of Parliament for Sungai Siput. Both seats were contested under the Parti Keadilan Rakyat banner in the 8 March 2008 general election.
The party has faced many obstacles from the government and its agencies since it was founded. PSM was denied registration by the ROS from 1998 to 2008 on the grounds that it was a threat to national security.
The party took the matter to the courts. In 2003, the Kuala Lumpur High Court upheld the government’s decision. The Court of Appeal also dismissed PSM’s appeal in 2006, but ruled that the party is not a national security threat as there was “insufficient support material”.
PSM then appealed to the Federal Court. The home minister gave the green light in June 2008, and the ROS two months later.