On Sunday 26 August more than 500 people staged a strong anti US-FTA (Free Trade Agreement) protest in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman Road at the centre of Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. The state propaganda machine preferred to concentrate on the coming Merdeka Bash to celebrate 50 years of independence.
Most of the protesters were farmers from the northern rice-bowl state of Kedah, or workers and urban settlers.
Besides the workers, many young people also participated in the event. Protesters carried anti US banners and posters, shouted slogans and leafleted a large crowd that had gathered to watch the protest. The police looked on and at times tried to intimidate the crowd but there were no untoward incidents.
Malaysia will be celebrating 50 years of independence on Friday 31 August 2007. The entire state controlled media have been drumming up nationalism. This is at a time when ordinary people are facing massive problems from neoliberal policies which have increased the price of basic goods, while they are being attacked with anti-worker legislation.
PSM Secretary General, S Arutchelvan addressed the crowd. He attacked the US government for pushing the FTA. But, he said, the US could not successfully sign this agreement unless there were local Malaysians who wanted to work with the US agenda. He attacked the ruling party for selling off the country's independence to imperialists and capitalists.