Several fellow physicians of Sungai Siput MP Dr D Michael Jeyakumar in Sarawak wrote to give moral support to their detained friend.
Dr Jeyakumar of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) was arrested together with 30 others while distributing anti-Barisan Nasional leaflets as part of a three-day information campaign in the northern part of the peninsula. Police accused them of waging war against the King and trying to revive communist ideology.
MoCS publishes these two mails from Dr Jeyakumar’s fellow doctors.
From Dr Francis HH Ngu
YB Dr Michael Jeyakumar is known to me when he was a junior officer at Sarawak General Hospital, where I was Acting Medical Superintendent (1983-1987).
Even then he was most outstanding as a Government Officer of uncommon social responsibility, providing patient service unflinchingly regardless of heavy workloads. Indeed he 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 weakness of SOCSO thereof.
4. The occupational safety of mostly Dayak logging workers in Sarawak, or rather, lack thereof.
This is all the more remarkable as he comes from a comfortable upper middle class family in Penang.
I was disappointed in myself for having failed in my effort to recommend him for “Perkhidmatan Cemerlang” award.
Nonetheless, he was a personal inspiration to me, and he will always be such.
I have no doubt that it is a highest level of humanity which made him not just a physician, but an uncommon one. He has dedicated the last 3-4 decades of his life as much to his Dayak patients in Sarawak as to the Indian plantation workers, both groups being the marginalised of the marginalised in Malaysian society.
His humanity finds expression in his leadership of Malaysian Socialists.
While I may not agree with all the elements of his socialist programs, my heart is with him as he earns political persecution upon himself, instead of recognition from the powers that be.
From Dr Nathan PS
Dr Jeyakumar is one of a kind!. He was the Perak State, Chest Physician, in Ipoh hospital (1994-1996) when I was serving in Perak, and as a government servant he went and sat in front of the bulldozer to stop the demolition of squatter houses in Kg Chickedee!
The State Pengarah Kesihatan, said at the meeting of senior officers that morning, “Yes, WE, the Dept welcomes good publicity, but NOT this kind of BAD publicity!”. Soon after that, Dr Jeyakumar was transferred to Pahang but he refused to move! Then, they transferred him to Kedah…again he didn’t move! In both those states, there were no vacancies for Chest Physicians! Finally because they were harassing him he resigned and actually forced into private practice. He was actually eligible to apply to opt out of service, and receive a meagre pension, but even that was not approved!
Dr Jeyakumar’s father Dr Devaraj, was the Medical Officer in-charge of Kluang Distric Hospital in the 1950′s, and my late father a Hospital Assistant served under him then. In later years, Dr Devaraj was the state physician in Penang and well known for his social work on Cancer related issues.
Dr Jeyakumar’s uncle, Prof Danaraj, was the first Dean of the Medical Faculty University of Malaya, and having moved from the University of Singapore, he was charged with the responsibility of setting up the Medical Faculty complex from scratch.
Dr Jeyakumar’s brother, an engineer, was also a social activist, and was arrested and charged with illegal assembly during the 1998 Anwar street demonstrations. My daughter was assisting in the legal team that was defending some 170 ‘Orang Kena Tuduh’ OKUs at that time.
Dr Jeyakumar’s sister is married to the Selangor ADUN Dr Xavier.