Jeyakumar and an upside-down world

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Of all the 200-odd arrests over the last couple of weeks, none is a more glaring instance of injustice than the cruel detention without trial of Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj.

As a journalist, I have known Jeyakumar for over a dozen years now and have been closely tracking his career, interviewing him on a number of occasions.

We are talking about a man who was once awarded a gold medal by the Malaysian Medical Association for outstanding community service.

Deeply concerned about the poor and marginalised, he has raised issues concerning their plight in Parliament on numerous occasions.

Not only has he served his constituents diligently, he has attempted to analyse the root or structural causes of poverty and the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

He is especially concerned about neo-liberal economic policies such as privatisation and its impact on the growing gap between the rich and the poor. As a former government medical specialist (a respiratory physician by training), he is clearly able to see the impact on the poor of the privatisation of health care support services, the introduction of private wings in government hospitals, the trend of ‘medical tourism’, and the mushrooming of private hospitals including those established by government-linked corporations. As part of the Coalition Against Health Care Privatisation, he was instrumental in coming up with a People’s Proposal to provide an alternative model of health care financing.

He and his party colleagues have championed the rights of the landless and workers and opposed attempts to erode their rights. They have pushed for a minimum wage and opposed the introduction of GST. Because of all this, the ruling elite and their corporate cronies must have considered them a threat to their interests.

In the light of the global economic crisis, the soft-spoken Jeyakumar has provided a timely critique of the shortcomings and weaknesses of the present economic order and has pointed to more people-centred alternatives.

Within his constituency, he has highlighted the denial of federal allocations for his constituency, taking the issue to court.

He and his colleagues holding public office have also led the way by declaring their assets to the public annually, putting other elected reps to shame.

With sheer persistence and a solid track record of serving the constituency, Jeyakumar took on the MIC giant Samy Vellu in three successive general elections, finally defeating him in 2008. It was a victory for dogged persistence and solid service to the community even in defeat and adversity.

His approach in his constituency has not been to create a culture of dependency among the Sungai Siput people by using a top-down decision-making approach. Instead of simply dishing out aid money, he has sought to empower the people by encouraging a participatory approach to decision-making so that the people take ownership of the projects introduced. His quiet, determined persistence, away from the limelight, keeps winning him new admirers. And he has always been seen in public with an “Abolish ISA” badge pinned on his shirt.

In short, Jeyakumar has been a model Member of Parliament – one of the most ethical, analytical and caring politicians around.

What kind of upside-down world do we live in when such a principled MP of unimpeachable integrity – along with his party colleagues, so concerned for the dispossessed and the marginalised – is treated like a common criminal and cruelly incarcerated under harsh security laws? Meanwhile, the corrupt, the unethical and the unprincipled roam free.

It is not only a gross violation of human rights. What does it say about us as a nation? Shouldn’t we feel utterly ashamed that we have locked up such people?

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Andrew I

Heard the trip of our blue bloods isn’t going as smoothly as they had wished for. There are limits, even when it comes to British diplomacy or avoiding unpleasantness. Obviously, some people are not as Anglicized as they thought they were.

bigjoe

For those achievement oriented, self-focussed people who are most of you out there, they should understand that taking down Samy Vellu in Sg. Siput for Jeyakumar is NO small achievement. To those who think its simply a result of 308 Tsunami, they should think again. Sg Siput is very well-looked after community, great infrastructures, good schools, well-organised and prosperous. Its not a typical small-town rural area. Samy Vellu has done more than right to the community he represented and everyone knows he is frequently there too. They should be the most apathetic people in the world and not be swept… Read more »

saibre soljre

Nothing quite illustrates the regimes’s inane highhandedness, lack of decency and respect for the human being, than their contemptuous treatment of this man. Because Dr Jeyakumar is such a special person, BN’s evil is all the more laid bare for the world to see. Out of this, good will eventually come to this country, and the wicked be made to account for their transgressions.

Soo Ying Chow

They have held in detention the one person who is totally honest and caring. Have a heart and release this man!

Rejab Relau

We have little faith with our police who are supposed to be the guardian of the law but they are now thinking of all ways to break the laws to justify their wants. They are so shallow and so low on their ability that whatever they do, immediately the public is aware that they are plans hatched by the pdrm, e.g.concocting new conspiracy theories to justify the detention of these six PSM members under the Emergency Ordinance (EO). Those detained were forced to undergo “intense interrogations” by police from the District (IO), Criminal Investigation department (CID) and Special Branch-Bukit Aman… Read more »

Racheljansz

I’m praying for Jeyakumar. I do hope many will stand up for this humble man especially Archbishop Murphy Pakiam!

gane
Rajan

UMNO had successfully divided all Malaysians along racial, religious and what not lines. If the people are divided it is easier for the rulers to do whatever they want. Divide and rule lah katakan! MCA and MIC are tools of UMNO to ensure the different races are never united! Have u ever noticed that of late Najib has been visiting Sikh, Tamils, Telugus and Malayalees! These people are happy and think they should keep within their community to get more ‘ang pow’ from Najib. Now you can see that it is easier to create division among Indians in any part… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Anil, Jayekumar is having heart palpitations might be caused by deprivation of sleep. Send him a bible and ask him to read with sound volume that only he can hear his own voice. This is ancient way of treating heart palpitations. As long as you read or recite anything with sound volume only you can hear, you will regain control of your consciousness, then the heart beat will be back to normal, and you will not fell asleep. Jeyakumar can use this method to defeat the SB, to see who can last without sleeping. Trust me, I am the only… Read more »

Sunny Shen Jen Tneoh

I salute Dr Jeyakumar he is our Malaysian Martin Luther King.

Jackson Au

Why such a good man like Dr. Jeyakumar is being treated so harshly by the authorities?? May the divine please save Dr. Jeyakumar & his members who are being detained in policy custody be free from harm and danger. May the divine protects him always for all the good that he has done for the people and the country.

Basir Syamsudin

Topple a democratically elected government?????..What about the Perak fiasco…where the Speaker can be forcefully ejected from his seat and there was no regard to voters interest…what do you call that Hisham????

Come on Hisham..before you open your mouth look around and don’t get caught….

wandererAUS

sorry for the wrong expression; “We shall not forbid thee”…should read, “We shall not forsake thee”

Christine Yong

So much for the Talent Corporation to attract Talented people back to Malaysia. Such a Talented and good person standing for a good is unjustly arrested under ISA. BN does not know how to value people and deal with issues with class. So low down and wasted talents. This man would be valued in other countries! He has contributed much to the country and yet ??????????

Give us back our fish

It is a sad state. The highest force, please intervene. Please do not let innocent people be harmed in anyway whatsoever.

a toong

Very well written article. Dr Jeyakumar is such a good man. Its a reflection of the cruel regime to detain such a selfless person who dedicate his life to the service of the down trodden people !

radin kamal

DR JEYAKUMAR, you are the REAL Malaysian. Your just struggle for the rakyat will not go to waste. We the rakyat are with you. We pray for DIVINE INTERVENTION your speedy release and also for your well-being so that you can resume and proceed with your sincere endeavour for good governance and democracy to prevail.
HIDUP MALAYSIA

wandererAUS

Hang in there, Dr. D. Jeyakumar…it shun be long, the sun will rise and clear the milky sky. Your bravery will be well remembered by your electorate and Bersih Malaysians….we shall not forbid thee!

tunglang

God is good to us for putting Jeyakumar in our midst.
We need more of his type of caring, fearless and unbiased, and unassuming personality among politicians and public servants to serve us better.
He is more than a politician. He is our brother in mind, spirit and love.
May the Lord strengthen him through this unwarranted ordeal.

SamG

Dr Jeyakumar should be nominated for the Ramon Magsaysay Award for starters!

Leithaisor

In a fair and just society, Dr Jeyakumar would have been accorded the respect and recognition he so richly deserves.

That he is currently detained by the authorities instead is a damning indictment indeed. The rot is deep.

And it would be near impossible… No, it IS IMPOSSIBLE for the ruling Barisan Nasional to convince me that my vote should go to its candidate come GE13.

Yin Choy

My friend sent me this open letter wrote by Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj’s cousin. Let’s hope it’ll encourages more people to come out and join Bersih 2.0 rally tomorrow. Good night and God Bless you all. The heart of a gentle person – Dr Jeyakumar I am writing this urgent letter to all Malaysians to be aware of the suffering that all the 6 PSM members are going thru . Isolated from loved ones and family they will have to beg to go to toilet , or shave or bathe and hence the mental torture starts .I am writing on behalf… Read more »

tunglang

Any Malaysian with a Bersih heart is truly touched by Jeyakumar.
God, please keep Jeyakumar safe and protected. And also bless his family many folds.

Phua Kai Lit

I have asked academicians from foreign countries to press for the release of Dr Jeyakumar and the rest of the group.

kee

TQ Phua Kai Lit !!!

Antares

Michael Jeyakumar is undoubtedly a human angel. And those who would dare label him “subversive” do so because his impeccable moral nature is like the rays of morning sunshine that dispel darkness and denizens of depraved domains. Indeed, demons in human guise like Khalid Abu Bakar and Hishammuddin Hussein have no choice but to arrest and attempt to imprison him – however, they are too stupid to realize that the power of goodness comes direct from God and cannot be imprisoned or intimidated. Their vile action will rebound on them a millionfold.

justine noel

It was the same 2000 years ago when Jesus walked with the poor and the marginalised. The authorities always find such people a threat to their agenda.

bigjoe

Solid reason why tmrw should happen but apathetic Malaysian need to know that tmrw is about them:

We need to send the message to UMNO/BN to reform/change …. There will NOT be a Bersih 3.0. People won’t have the patience. Tmrw, some people may get hurt, arrested, ISA etc. BUT no one will die….