We, members of the Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Associations of Malaysia, representing more than 5,000 doctors nationwide are writing to your kind office to consider our appeal for the release of Dr D Jeyakumar.

We are extremely concerned at the continued detention of our colleague Dr Jeyakumar whom we all recognise and acknowledge as a law-abiding competent, kind and diligent doctor. His public service record is exemplary and to the very best of our knowledge he is certainly not a threat to our society.

Dr Jeyakumar comes from an illustrious family with an undying passion for loyal public service to Malaysia. TJ Danaraj, his uncle, was the founding dean of the University of Malaya faculty of medicine. His father, TP Devaraj, was a long serving senior consultant physician at the Penang Hospital and is presently continuing his charitable work by being head of Hospice Penang.

Dr Jeyakumar himself has been known for his social work since his days as a medical student when he volunteered his time giving tuition to poor children from squatter and estate families. He subsequently served with the Ministry of Health spending considerable time in rural postings all over the country and selflessly serving the rakyat.

Even in his present private practice, Dr Jeyakumar’s patients come mainly from the underprivileged and lower socio-economic class. He is well known for his capacity for charity and kindness for all under his care regardless of ethnicity and religion.

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5,000 doctors appeal for release of Jeyakumar

We, the undersigned doctors, including members of the Malaysian Medical Association (Perak Branch), and/or the Perak Medical Practitioners Society

1. are very concerned and troubled over the prolonged ‘illegal’ detention of our colleague Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj.

2. are concerned for Dr Jeyakumar’s health, which seems to be deteriorating under detention.

3. are deeply saddened, hurt and disillusioned by the action of the Judiciary (which is supposed to be to be independent) which on 13/07/2011 delayed the hearing date of habeas corpus application of Dr Jeyakumar and five others by a month.

We urge the immediate release of our colleague, who is also the Member of Parliament Sungai Siput, Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj.

Dr Jeyakumar and five other Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) members were ‘illegally’ detained under the Emergency Ordinance recently. They have been placed in a cruel and unjust situation. They were first accused of waging war against the King and now of being a threat to national security, allegedly trying to revive communist ideology. They are subjected to interrogation and solitary confinement, denied proper visitation rights with their lawyers and close family members. This is of course unacceptable in a civil and democratic society.

We say that the detention is ‘illegal’ because till today, there is no solid and substantiated basis for the continued detention of Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj and five of his PSM colleagues.

We scarcely need reminding that Article 5 (1) of our Federal Constitution says no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with the law.

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Doctors urge for immediate release of Dr Jeyakumar

I write with great concern over the incarceration of Sungai Siput parliamentarian Dr D Jeyakumar, or Kumar, under the Emergency Ordinance. It is mystifying to me how the authorities can construe Kumar’s commitments and political activities as either waging war against the Agong or subverting the nation.

What has become of the Malaysian power structure that such an individual, widely seen as brilliant and deeply caring, can be so cynically arrested by using the bogeyman of communism? As an old friend, it is equally worrisome to hear that he has been admitted to the National Heart Institute (IJN), with the possible harm to his health brought about by this outrageous action.

Kumar and I go back a long way. There is a family picture of him and me when we were one year old, but I do not remember the encounter. We became friends in Penang Free School, where Kumar spent more time in community and educational projects than in class, though still managing to become the top student in our school.

After the Higher School Certificate exam (HSC) in 1973, we travelled together for two months in India. I wished to be far away from home when my HSC results came out and Kumar wanted to understand why so many people were poor in India.

Later both of us went to the United States to study, he at Yale and I nearby at Wesleyan. To my surprise, but totally consistent with his desire to lead a socially meaningful life, Kumar decided to return to Malaysia to do medicine as this would enable him to understand and serve his fellow beings, especially the weak and marginalised, better.

Although I would be based mainly in Singapore and the US subsequently, I would meet Kumar from time to time, and learn of his political and community service activities and his thinking on Malaysian society.

Much has been said already in Malaysiakini and elsewhere about Kumar’s amazing range of public health and social projects, so I need not be redundant.

All I wish to say is that in all the time I have known Kumar, I have never seen any violent streak in his person, he being constitutionally incapable of such behaviour. And being a very gentle person, he is averse to forcing his ideas on anyone or to act against basic democratic norms. He has been an enabler all his life, not a subverter.

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Great concern over the incarceration Dr Jeyakumar

Aliran is very concerned and troubled over Dr Jeyakumar’s health, which seems to be deteriorating under detention.

We learn that he is now in IJN undergoing observation. This is the second time he had to be taken to hospital while under detention. This has happened within a span of two weeks which is really worrying.

The PSM 6 detained under the Emergency Ordinance have been placed in a cruel and unjust situation: they have been falsely accused (first of waging war against the King and now of being a threat to national security), subjected to interrogation and solitary confinement, and denied proper visitation rights with their lawyers.

This is totally unacceptable in a civil society.

Kumar is neither a communist nor a violent man to be a serious threat to the country. All those who know Kumar speak highly of his work and commitment to the people. The home minister must search his conscience over these blatant lies made against Kumar and his team.

It is a terrible injustice to detain persons under false pretences.

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As the date towards a people’s rally for electoral reform approaches, the authorities’ paranoia has escalated to shrill decibels of painful mindless noises of disingenuous half truths and unbelievable mendacity.

There is that mounting sense of hopelessness and seething anger, that this hitherto wonderful country of ours seems hell-bent on deteriorating into a failed despotic state.

Arbitrary and biased exploitation of the law rides roughshod over its increasingly incredulous and dissenting citizens, who are in rising numbers refusing to be cowed or intimidated by inane propaganda and downright lies and manipulations.

The remand detention of Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj and the other PSM leaders must rank as a senseless blow to the perception of law and order and sense of justice for ordinary Malaysians. We appear to be descending to the levels of other repressive regimes elsewhere.

For almost everyone of us who know Dr Michael Jeyakumar, a soft-spoken and caring doctor and MP, this must be the sickening icing of a rotten cake that the authorities has tried to serve to an unknowing rakyat!

If one’s only crime is to serve the rakyat without fear or favour, and forsaking one’s middle income status, for a just cause, then we would all be “socialists-communists”!

If only we have the courage and audacity to say so and act! Having socialist ideologies and living a life exemplary of advocacy and helping to enact change and betterment for the marginalised and the forgotten cannot be a crime!

If only more of us have the courage and the sacrifice to do as these leaders of PSM have done, the world would have been better for all the needy around the world.

But we are humans with self- and family interests constraining our less than altruistic nature… I am ashamed that I cannot be more forthcoming in doing all the wonderful things that these activists are doing selflessly!

How can they be a threat to our nation when they are at the forefront of caring and serving?

On behalf of fair-minded citizens of Malaysia, we urge the government and the police authorities to be magnanimous and let these people go-free them unconditionally!

It is arrogant cowardice of the highest order to hide behind a despised antiquarian law, to perhaps victimise the smallest political party of substance, just because the authorities can, to showcase as a crude example of political clout.

Such intimidation cannot be welcomed by any sane person or patriotic Malaysian!

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I came to know Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj when he was posted as a junior medical officer at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), where I was acting medical superintendent from 1983 to 1987.

Even then, he was most outstanding as a government officer of uncommon social responsibility, providing patient service unflinchingly regardless of heavy workloads. Indeed, Jeyakumar showed his concern for patients well beyond his immediate patient care responsibilities at SGH.

I recall that as a junior medical officer at SGH, he actively canvassed for:

1. The safety and comfort of patients on long boat journeys, while on referral from Kapit district hospital to Sibu Hospital;

2. Injured workers timely entitlements under the Workers Compensation Scheme; especially timely and more just awards by Medical Boards to injured workers;

3. The legislatively prescribed responsibilities of Socso in the rehabilitation of permanently disabled workers, and the weakness of Socso thereof; and

4. The occupational safety of the mostly Dayak logging workers in Sarawak, or rather, its lack thereof.

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WHAT is this country coming to? Many Malaysians are asking this question in view of the numerous actions taken by the police over the past week.

First, they arrested 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members, including MP for Sungai Siput Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, and are now investigating them for resurrecting Communism and waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. While on their way to a Bersih roadshow in Penang, they were arrested in Kepala Batas and found to have in their possession T-shirts bearing faces of Chin Peng and Rashid Maidin. They have been remanded for seven days.

Communism? That’s crazy talk. The Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) is long dead and gone. Chin Peng is a geriatric and Rashid Maidin is dead. The party disbanded in 1989 after signing a peace treaty with the Malaysian Government, and its members were allowed to reside in Malaysia if they chose to do so. After 22 years of its being defunct and virtually forgotten, why is Communism still a threat today?

And if it were – by some stretch of the imagination – are we to believe that this threat is manifest in these 30 PSM members among whom 14 are women, the oldest aged 64?

A friend of mine who was at the court in Penang when the 30 were brought in told me they were just “a motley crew” of people who didn’t look like they would carry a stick to fight, much less wage war against the Agong. “When I saw that, my faith in the system hit rock-bottom,” he said.

“And to see Jeyakumar in handcuffs was too much,” he added. “He alone is worth many of our people in power put together. Top scorer in exams, a doctor, a man who has dedicated his life to helping poor people – he doesn’t deserve this.”

…more

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