A Sister's Grief

Posted by M ws On Thursday, July 28, 2011 4 comments
At the "BERSIH 2.0 Crack-Down: "EO Another ISA" Forum" last night, it must have been difficult for Dr Prema Devaraj, younger sister of Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, to recount the memories of the ordeal following the detention of EO6. Not many could have pulled it through but Prema did - beautifully! Her face, though weary, did not belie the grief within her. The sea of faces looking right at her must have given her the inner strength she needed to speak so movingly.

On that fateful night, she recounted how there were only ten supporters waiting outside the Kepala Batas Police Station and she wished that there could have been more that evening to cry for their release - the volume of support might have rattled the police.

Dr Prema went on to present the biodata of the EO6 - all of whom had one thing in common - their earnest and sincere effort to bring about social equality, gender equality and the eradication of poverty via various programmes.

Who are the EO6?

1. Sarat Babu
Born on 12.11.86, Sarat Babu is a local activist in Kampung Chepor and has been active in the cause since 2004. He is one of the founder members of Alaigal, working in the Bercham. Babu was a coordinator in Perak for JERIT and was a tutor for 6 years. He is a part-time law student in Universiti Malaya. Recently, Babu was selected as Youth Chairman of Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM)

2. Chon Kai
A Penangite, Chon Kai has been an activist since his university days at USM. He is a member of the Central Committee of Parti Sosialis Malaysia and the former coordinator in SUARAM Pulau Pinang. Chon Kai is a full-time activist in PSM and has been the Coordinator of PSM’s international relations, Editor of Akhbar Berita Sosialis (Socialist News Daily) PSM in Mandarin which is published once every two months not forgetting that he composed many songs about the leftist struggle.

3. Letchuman
Letchumanan, treasurer of the PSM Sungei Siput branch, is in his 40's. Married to Selvi, they both have two children - Devan and Poorni. Both are well brought up and top scorers in their school. The son of a rubber tapper, Letchu, has been proactively organized evening classes for neighbouring children in the Heawood plantation. He has been active in empowering workers to stand up for their rights. You can read about him HERE.

4. M Sugumaran
M Sugumaran is the liaison member of PSM Perak, coordinator for May Day program and often the negotiator with police when a demonstration takes place in Perak. He is married to Pushpa and they both have three children. He is also the Sungei Siput branch chairman.

According to Arutchelvan, Secretary-General of PSM, "when Sugu was arrested on 2 July, he spoke to me through the phone. He said, "I am Ok, please make sure someone will take my mother to the hospital".

5. Sarasvathy Muthu
Sarasvathy Muthu has been involved in activism since she was 17. She started working for Young Christian Workers (YCW). Two years later, she organized textile and food industry workers in Jelapang and Tasek factory level and also the state level to form a union body involved in picketing and strike. From then, she has travelled to various parts of SEA to represent Malaysia at conferences. Saras is actively involved in women’s groups networks such as AWAM and WDC in discussing the challenges of the female working community. As a full time activist in Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Saras contended in the 2008 elections for DUN Jelapang. Even though she lost,she has been servicing the constituency with a big heart.

6. Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj
You can read more about him in my post on The Gentle MP of Sungei Siput.

According to the latest news HERE, Dr. Jeyakumar is on a hunger strike. There will be a candlelight vigil tonight at 8p.m. Speakers' Square, Esplanade in Penang. Please come and show your support. 

Dr Prema expressed her appreciation to the three lawyers (all ladies) who were there to help EO6 when they were detained on July 2nd, namely Lim Kah Cheng, Karen Lai and Agatha Foo. They were released and shortly thereafter re-arrested. Handcuffed but with heads held high, they were taken in a convoy of cars to Bukit Aman KL.

She expressed her disappointment and outrage at the totally unnecessary and excessive use of force by the police. According to Dr Prema, the six of them are such gentle and dedicated activists that they would have taken the bus at their own expense to go to Bukit Aman if they had been summoned. There was no need to use taxpayers' money to transport them in so many cars. She explained that her brother was driven to KL in one car with FOUR other policemen and the others in different cars.

Dr Prema lamented that the last time she saw her brother was on 15th of July. The EO6 are being detained at different police stations namely Dang Wangi, Selayang, Travers, Jinjang, Petaling and Bukit Aman.

She explained that PSM is a registered political party working within a democratic framework. Like any other legitimate organization, PSM holds meetings, organizes programmes and networks with socialist organizations all over the world. It is no crime to have socialist ideas or to be different from BN and PR.

"Surely in a democracy, differences of opinions are allowed," she said, "and the government has to recognize that PSM has been dedicating itself to the service of the poor and marginalized groups."

The level of insecurity being displayed is by a government that is surely losing power.

She gave her a vote of thanks to all who have been loyally giving their support and urged more to speak up for the release of EO6.

When a government shudders at a yellow t-shirt and uses the tools of the state and arbitrary laws, it is exceedingly clear that at the next elections, they have to be voted OUT.

"Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS." Mahatma Gandhi

*This post is Part 2 of 'Tis Only Just The Beginning.  Part 3 will be about the lawyers' experiences  and the Q and A session of the forum.

4 comments to A Sister's Grief

  1. says:

    dharmendra thanks masterwordsmith for putting this in perspective. truth and love has my humble loyalty....OM

  1. says:

    flyer168 Just to share this...

    Gandhian Inversion of Modern Political Perception
    Ramin Jahanbegloo

    The core of Gandhi's theory of politics is to show that the citizen is the true political subject and not the state.

    In other words, in Gandhi's mind the citizen was always above the state.

    As such, the political subject's decision on sovereignty becomes, for Gandhi, the true subject of political sovereignty.

    As a result, the Gandhian moment of politics is an effort to de-theologise and de-secularise the concept of modern politics as presented by the omnipotent sovereign of Thomas Hobbes.

    His ideas on ethics in politics lead Gandhi to criticise Hobbesian political authority and to disobey the state and its laws beyond the principle of fear.

    Gandhi's political practice is based on the taming of this fear.

    Rule of Law or Rule by Law...

    Former Lord President Tun Mohamed Suffian Hashim repeatedly insisted in his foundational written texts that in Malaysia,

    “The constitution” and nothing but the constitution is “the supreme law of the land.”

    “Malaysia cannot afford to see constitutional principles imperilled, and constitutional processes jeopardised”

    — “not even out of an understandable impatience, or a conscientious determination, to see the urgent political and practical problems of the day speedily resolved.” unquote.

    You be the judge.


  1. says:

    DR.SARAVANAN R Hi Paula, thanks for the awareness created on the injustice done to the PSM 6. This despicable and dastardly act by the BN regime has gone beyond the borders of gutter politics, reaching the realm of barbarians i might say. Disgusting indeed.

  1. says:

    WC Justice isn't prevailed! Well, I know that the political issue is complicated but to THIS extend, I really lose hope for the country. How many groups in this world could actually dedicate itself to the service of the poor? The answer is in our hearts.

    *My apology for any mistake made o(^w^)o

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