Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The plight of Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj

For slightly more than a week now, my status on facebook has featured this simple do-it-myself appeal to the Najib regime to set free the Sungei Siput member of parliament, Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj. I could have used one of the more elaborate pictures from the Internet but I would believe it doesn't really matter.

What really matters to me is that the Najib regime must release Kumar and his other five detained political party colleagues as soon as possible. The longer Kumar and company are detained, the more scorn is poured on the Najib regime. Nobody in the 21st century can truly believe that Kumar and his Socialist Party of Malaysia or Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) are expounding communism from a few T-shirts and banners confiscated from them or capable of waging war on the country. They are just convenient scapegoats.

Except for those with thick skulls in the Najib regime, everyone else knows that communism is outdated. China's communism ideology now embraces capitalism. The Chinese have the sign of the good old dollar firmly within their sights. If the Najib regime is serious about communism infiltrating into this country, then go and condemn China. The only more visible communist states left in the world are Cuba and North Korea. It doesn't take more than a dunce to see how their ideologies have affected their economies. So why on earth would Kumar and the PSM want to support communism? The Najib regime doesn't have a decent excuse to detain them further except perhaps to break Kumar politically. That's how evil, heartless and shallow the Najib regime is exposed to be.

Now, I don't know Kumar other than knowing that he is an Old Free like me. He was one year my junior in school but I must confess that I do not know him at all. But all the same, as part of the Old Boys network, I am very unhappy that Kumar remains jailed up and I want him to be freed as soon as possible.

After Form Six, Kumar went to Yale in 1974-75 but he decided to return to Malaysia to do Medicine at the University of Malaya. During his schooldays, he was already deeply aware of the social problems faced by many on the country but his years overseas reinforced his determination to help the disadvantaged back home. The was reflected in some of the courses he took at Yale: history, philosophy, sociology and political economy.

In the middle of Kumar's second year at Yale, he returned to Malaysia. He had felt that these Social Science courses had diverted him away from his medical studies. So he came back, completed his medical degree locally and readily volunteered to serve in rural Sarawak where he felt his services would be needed the most. How many of our present-day medical students can share Kumar's personal sacrifice?

One of my classmates commented to me that some people may think that Kumar wasted two years in the United State but more than that, those two years had actually developed his very different sense of awareness and purpose. Kumar sees the hardship and suffering of the many under-privileged and marginalised people who look to him for help, regardless of their race, creed or religion. On a daily basis, Kumar the humanist wrestles with this injustice.

I know that Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Association, which represents some 5,000 private doctors nationwide, has publicly called for the release of Kumar from detention. Prior to this, 176 medical practitioners in Perak have also issued similar calls for his unjustified freedom.

But I hope that we can all do more for Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj. And I appeal to the Old Frees' network in the country to look beyond Kumar's political views and lend their voices to support the release of a man who is, after all, an Old Free with a good heart in the right place.

1 comment:

Simon Loo said...

I am ao old Free, classmate of berhormat Kumar. I agree readily that his detention, and continued detention, has absolutely no merit.
How can we, ordinary Joes who sympathise with such detainees participate to call for their release?