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Archives of the Malaysian Socialist Party

Recently the first batch of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) archives were given to the International Institute of Social History (IISH). PSM has agreed to deposit the following items with IISH: minutes and party documents of the Socialist Popular Front (SPF), 1996-8; minutes of the meetings of the PSM, 1996-2003: PSM Congress documents, 2000-07; leaflets released by PSM; newspapers (Socialist) and newsletters; books; photographs; documents on internal party discussions; copies of the party organ Vanguard; flags; election documents; and propaganda material. The SPF and PSM minutes of meetings and congress documents have now arrived at the IISH, although access to the archives is restricted.

At the end of the 1980s in Malaysia the left was almost wiped up by the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA), which was used against those favoring socialism or communism, and other laws. The last socialist party to exist in Malaysia was the Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM). PSRM decided to change their name back to Parti Rakyat Malaysia in 1990 and stopped advocating socialism as their official ideology. That left Malaysia without a left-based political party. In 1991 several grassroots organizations that worked with urban and rural workers and the poor wanted to form an alliance for a new socialist political party but it did not take off the ground.
In 1995, after the Malaysian General Election, there was a serious attempt to form a left political party, but they could not reach a consensus about calling the party 'socialist'. The organizations and groups involved in drafting a socialist party constitution were called the Socialist Popular Front (SPF).

The PSM was formed in 1998. It was officially registered as a political party on the eve of Labour Day, 1998. The Malaysian federal government refused to recognize PSM, however, and rejected PSM's application to register as a political party, alleging that PSM is a threat to national security. PSM operates openly and transparently. Very recently two adherents of PSM were elected to parliament. In June 2008, PSM obtained approval from the Home Ministry to register as a political party after a 10-year battle which included a protracted law suit against the government.