Working notes on the Malaysian Left
SYED HUSIN Ali
ABSTRACT This note is an attempt to trace the change and continuity of the leftist political policies, and to analyse why the Left generally, especially the Malay Left, has not been successful in Malaysian politics. It questions why the Malaysian Left was strong after the Second World War but slowly dissipated until it is almost crippled now. Other than examining the formation and the roles of the Malaysian Left and their struggles for independence, this note also sorts out the factors of the unsuccessful struggles to get wide Malay support in the Malay-dominated Malay Nationalist Party of Malaya (PKMM) and the Chinese-dominated Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).
Keywords: Malaysian Left, Malay Left, Malay Nationalist Party of Malaya (Partai Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya, PKMM), Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Socialist Front.
Syed Husin is a prominent politician, academic and social activist. Formerly a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology in the University of Malaya, Syed Husin was detained under the ISA for six years (1974-80) without trial following the demonstration by peasants in Baling and students in Kuala Lumpur. He is currently a member of the Political Bureau of and a Senator for the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People's Justice Party), representing the state of Selangor. Among the books written by Syed Husin Ali are: Social Stratification in Kampung Bagan (JMBRAS); Malay Rural Society and Leadership(OUP); The Malays: Their Problems and Future (Heinemann); Poverty and Landlessness in Kelantan (Breitenbach); Ethnicity, Class and Development (MSSA); Two Faces: Detention Without Trial (SIRD), which was translated into Chinese; Syed Husin Ali: Memoirs of a Political Struggle (SIRD); The Malay Rulers (2013), Ethnic Relations in Malaysia: Harmony and Conflict (2014) and more.