“Whether one is a capitalist, socialist or just interested in good governance, there is real benefit in reading this collection of speeches and essays by Dr Jeyakumar, one of the most principled politicians I know.
True to form, every word in these writings is weighed and considered carefully and responsibly. The result is a collection that challenges us into rethinking the benefits of our current systems to bring them in line with a ‘people first’ philosophy, in the true sense of those words.
The ‘vow of poverty’ that you will read about, exhorts political leaders to live simply, declare their assets and to behave with dignity. How refreshing! But the true power of Dr Jeyakumar’s words lies in the fact that he does not just write or speak them. It’s that he lives by them.”
— Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan
Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj is a medical doctor who, after completion of 18 years in government service, took on the then MIC President Dato Seri Samyvellu in the 1999 general elections. Jeyakumar lost in 1999 and again in 2004, but managed to displace Samyvellu in 2008, and retained the Sg Siput parliamentary seat in 2013.
A social activist since his university days, he is a founder member of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and is currently a PSM central committee member. He has been the secretary of the Coalition Against Privatization of Health Care since its formation in 2004.
Jeyakumar has been arrested about a dozen times for participating in gatherings and protests deemed illegal by the Police. His longest detention so far was for about a month in July 2011, when he and 5 other PSM members were held under the Emergency Ordinance on charges of treason. A strong protest from the Malaysian public secured the release of the ‘EO 6’ and they went on to sue the Inspector General of Police for wrongful detention. The case was settled via a consent agreement with the government paying RM 200,000 to PSM.
Jeyakumar has authored several books including Sucked Oranges (Insan 1989), Logging Against the Natives (Insan 1989), The Marginalised Society (Alaigal 1993 – in Tamil), Speaking Truth to Power (Alaigal 2002), Malaysia at the Crossroads (Parsosma 2009) and Maaf Tuan Speaker (Parsosma 2011 – in Malay).
He is married to Mohanarani Rasiah, a social activist, and they have a son.