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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jeyakumar haunted by fear of police frame-up

Hours after being released from detention under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), Sungai Siput MP Dr D Jeyakumar said that he feared police would frame him and his comrades to hold them indefinitely.

"When we gave our statement to police, they asked us about our overseas trips. I have gone to Senegal (for the) World Social Forum, to Australia (for the) World Socialist Alliance and M. Saraswathy went to Vietnam.

"I was scared they will link - Communist Party of Vietnam, Communist Party of Senegal, I think they were going for that, (to) frame us up.

"I was very scared they will use that to create awe among Malaysians, (to say) oh there is a communist plot in Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), luckily the police have arrested these people," he said.

Jeyakumar accompanied by his father, Dr T Devaraj spoke toMalaysiakini last night, shortly after a victory celebration for his release and five others at Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

Jeyakumar shared that while he was physically well treated, solitary confinement raised several fears in him and made it a challenge to pull himself together.

"I was scared they will create stories (like waging war against the Agong) and use that to arrest other people in the party or cancel the party's registration. I worried they will hold us for two years, I was very stressed, we did not have contact with the outside world.

"You have to keep it together, in the evening I did some light exercise (in the cell) and when I met the IO (investigating officer), I'd go through the questions (in my mind), (trying to figure) what were they going for, where were they heading," he said.

psm eo6 release pc 290711 jeyakumarRelating his routine during his 28-day incarceration, Jeyakumar (left) said that aside from meeting the police for questioning and medical assistant for his daily check-up, there was little that he could do.

"We had breakfast at 7.30 in the morning, (they gave us) a bun and Teh-O, and about 30 minutes to an hour later they brought us to the medical assistant's room to check our blood pressure and give us our medication.

Blindfolded when going to clinic

"Every time we went out, I was blindfolded and handcuffed, everyday. Even when going to the clinic you don't know where you are going, once you are at the clinic only then the blindfolds are removed.

"After that, between 9.30 and 11.30, the IO will come, sometimes in the morning or afternoon or sometimes he doesn't come at all and sometimes he comes twice a day.

"When the IO is done, they take you back to the cell (for lunch). The food is fine, we get white rice with chicken or fish. At 2pm to 2.30pm, we are taken back to the IO and only return to our cells at 5.30pm," he shared

Despite the harrowing experience, Jeyakumar is unfazed by his detention or the authorities accusations that he is a communist and remains firm in his conviction and PSM work.

"This is an old bogeyman they (the government) are using. When formed the party in 1998, we formed the party because we felt there was a need for a group to put forward the problems of ordinary Malaysians who are sometimes marginalised by the forces of development.

"We were working that time in the estate sector, (when a lot of) development (was taking place and) people were getting retrenched with so little compensation (and) no proper housing, coming into squatters area. After few years the area is developed, they are chased out.

"We became the socialist party not because of some theory (orpsm eo6 release 290711 group photothat) we were going to study communism and say it a good idea. We saw what was happening on the ground, that there is a need now to put forward consistently for all the marginalised group, whenever they raised.

"And then we found as we were putting these things forward, we realised it came under socialism," he explained..

'Papa, mama my inspiration'

Coming out of an Ivy League university, the Yale graduate could have led a more than a comfortable life, however, Jeyakumar opted to work as a government doctor in Sarawak's interior until he opted for retirement in 1999 to join politics.

Asked why he chose a road less travelled, Jeyakumar joked that it was his father fault.

"That was how my parents raised us, the concept of stewardship, that those who were born with more things are suppose to give at least part of that back to society, this is why all of us, my siblings are in a way similar," he said.

Jeyakumar's 86-year-old father, Devaraj nodded in agreement, saying that it runs in the family.

"Generally true, I tell people that he can help it, because he got genes from both sides of the family and I think those of us who are fortunate in terms of health and education means that we should share it with others," said Devaraj.

In spite of the trials and tribulations his son has had to endure, Devaraj has consistently remained proud and supportive of his offspring even during his almost 12-year attempt for the parliamentary seat of Sungai Siput until he finally unhorsed the incumbent S Samy Vellu in 2008.

"We were happy for him, his focus was about changing society, helping people, he was there for many years even before 1999, even in his school days he was involved in some kind of society activity. He was happy to do what he was doing," he said.

True to his spirit of service, Jeyakumar appeared to be prepared to roll up his sleeves and get back to work.

"We don't want the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the labour law amendment is not good, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Europe and America, healthcare and tertiary education are not good. We will work with other groups on this kind of issues," Jeyakumar said.

The other five PSM members released yesterday were Choo Chon Kai, Sarat Babu, M Sarasvathy, M Sukumaran and A Letchumanan.

They were stopped at Sungai Dua Toll Plaza with 24 others on June 25 after police searched their bus claiming that there were weapons on it and subsequent arrested them for allegedly attempting to wage war on the Agong

They were immediately rearrested under the EO after their release seven days later, this time for allegedly being the movers of electoral reform group Bersih 2.0.

The interview was jointly conducted by Jimadie Shah Othman and Nigel Aw. - Malaysiakini

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