A Sister’s Grief

By Masterwordsmith

“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.”

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 Muthuhas 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.