First published in Malaysiakini on 29 February 2016

Following the cancellation by the authorities of a crash course on Marxism, a local think-thank has urged Malaysians to reject such “interventions” from the state.

Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan said it is ironic how the police had accused Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) of trying to revive communism.

In a statement, Wan Saiful pointed out that it is actually in communist countries that authorities prevent the teaching of ideas and beliefs that are not approved by the state.

“Malaysians must reject this paternalistic intervention. It does not matter whether you agree or disagree with Marxism.

“There is a bigger issue of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience at stake and we cannot ignore this development,” he said.

In stressing that he is a free market advocate who runs a free market think-tank, Wan Saiful said it would be “disastrous” if Marxist ideas were to become policy in Malaysia.

“History tells us that Marxism has only resulted in misery and oppression of the people. But it is completely wrong to prevent legitimate discussion of this leftist ideology.

“You do not fight an idea by using force. Instead, you defeat an idea by advocating a better idea,” said Wan Saiful.

Inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar yesterday tweeted that police will not allow PSM to hold the course originally scheduled for March 20 in Petaling Jaya.

PSM central committee member S Arutchelvan, however, denied such assertions that the party is trying to revive communism in Malaysia.

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