Thursday, July 2, 2009


While Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is fully aware that the previous Government under Barisan National (BN) is to be blamed for the current problems in Kampung Buah Pala, Penang; yet the DAP led Pakatan Rakyat Government cannot just wash its hands off yet and blame the previous Government all the way.

In fact it puts to test or rather gives Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng a chance to prove that his government is pro people against being pro capitalist. For the time being it looks like peoples power has succeeded in postponing the forced eviction of the Kampung Pala settlers this Thursday.

PSM having the experience in fighting and championing many urban poor settlement sees that the biggest conflict surrounding land disputes are not the questions of ethnicity or heritage but rather it is the question of class. In most cases, the capitalist class using its financial muscle obtains land by buying over the State Government and its politicians. The poor settlers who have spent decades developing the land is left in a lurch and shown the exit door. The legal argument is standard – they are illegals, squatters and trespassers. They have been adequately compensated or these people are anti-development.

We have heard these same mantras over and over. These mantras have been used to evict the orang asli, the plantation workers, the farmers and the urban settlers over the years. In most cases the State and the legal system is with the rich and the developers. In cases where the people have triumphed, it is because of the resistance and struggle they put forward. It is very seldom, where the law has sided with the poor.

The current conflict puts a challenge to the Pakatan Government on the question of political will and political alliance. It is a question of class which the State Government needs to address. Everything else is technical and secondary. The State Government needs to choose if it wants to be with the many or just be comfortable living in its oasis.

PSM calls upon the State Government to use its political mandate and will to side with the settlers of Kampung Buah Pala. We call for all forced evictions in the State of Penang to be immediately halted. We call for a dialogue and the settlers of kampong Buah Pala be treated as partners in these development in their area.

Secretary General