MMA: Don’t force-feed Jeyakumar

K Pragalath | July 29, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

The authorities must respect Jeyakumar’s right to go on hunger strike as a non-violent form of protest, says Malaysian Medical Association.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today urged the police not to force-feed Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael D Jeyakumar who is being detained under the Emergency Ordinance.

“While we are concerned about the possible detrimental effects of this hunger strike on Jeyakumar’s health – more so as he has been brought to the hospital for heart problems twice since his initial arrest almost a month ago – we must also respect Jeyakumar’s right to this non-violent form of protest.

“In this regard, the MMA calls upon the authorities to respect international human rights law and not to resort to force-feeding as a means of ending Jeyakumar’s protest,” MMA president Mary Suma Cardosa said.

“The World Medical Association (WMA) – the body that establishes ethical guidance for doctors around the world – states that force-feeding by any means is considered as unethical and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” she said.

Jeyakumar started his hunger strike yesterday morning as a protest for his release along with five other PSM activists who have been detained under EO since July 2 for allegedly being prime movers of Bersih 2.0.

The five others are PSM deputy president M Sarasvathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sukumaran, Youth chief R Saratbabu and Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan.

Cardosa also urged all doctors to respect Jeyakumar’s decision to use hunger strike as a form of protest based on WMA’s Tokyo Declaration signed in 1985 and the Malta Declaration on Hunger Strikers (1991).

The WMA Tokyo Declaration (1985) states that a prisoner capable of forming unimpaired and rational judgment on the consequences of voluntary refusal of food must not be forced-fed. The prisoner’s capacity should be confirmed by at least one independent physician who will also explain the consequences.

The WMA Malta Declaration calls for doctors to prevent coercion or maltreatment of detainees, respect detainees’ choice to go on hunger strike and to ensure their medical assessments are influenced by third parties for non-medical purposes.

In line with the Malta Declaration, MMA also urged the authorities to appoint a physician from MMA to manage Jeyakumar ‘s fasting.

She said MMA’s involvement is vital because “we can be assured of his health and welfare and can communicate this with his family and friends on a regular basis, and can intervene medically if and when appropriate, while respecting Jeyakumar’s autonomy and right to carry out this form of non-violent protest”.

‘Lies from the police’

Meanwhile, Tanjong MP, Chow Kon Yeow, questioned Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar’s statement that “all six PSM activists are well taken care of” as reported in the mainstream media.

“This is another lie by the authorities. I urge that the six be released immediately and unconditionally,” Chow said in a press statement today.

On charges against the six that ranged from waging war against the King to spreading communism and being a prime mover of the Bersih 2.0 rally, Chow said the detention is political in nature without factual basis.

“The police should stop imagining things and must accept that the outpouring of public support indicates that people no longer find their actions credible.

“The detention is a cruel act… Where is Ismail’s conscience?”

Chow also took a swipe at the police who detained Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hooi Cheng in 2008 on the pretext of protection.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he (Ismail) further claims that the EO detention is an act of kindness. After all, didn’t the police once justified the ISA detention of Tan by saying that locking her up was to protect her?

“Denying the PSM detainees their freedoms and subjecting them to questionable practices, including supposed polygraph tests, are not acts of kindness. Forcing detainees to sign statements they don’t understand is not kind.

“There is no kindness in going back on promises for family visitations. Severely limiting access to legal counsel is not an act of kindness,”said Chow.

  1. #1 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Friday, 29 July 2011 - 6:20 pm

    Hello Yang Berhormat Hishammuddins Hussein, now that PSM 6 have been released, you can explain, reveal and satisfy the public how PSM 6 have been communistic, how they have sought to wage war on the King and why it was necessary to take them away from their families for 28 days.

    Hmmmmmm……let us see how clever you can be and how stupid your answers can be at the same time.

    Please oblige.

    Malaysians cannot suffer fools for Ministers or Prime Ministers.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Friday, 29 July 2011 - 6:35 pm

    That’s all they do….with drum up charges….then amend them…and release.
    For BERSIH 2 event …count how many were arrested and released.
    On the six released today..Dr. Jeya wanted to fast makes them turn YELLOW!!!

  3. #3 by gofortruth on Friday, 29 July 2011 - 6:38 pm

    Arrest first then go take weeks to find a reason for the arrest. If no reason found even after ‘forceful interogation’ then release.
    Malaysia truly BOLEH! What international shame on our home ministry???? If this is not BULLY, I don’t know what is!

  4. #4 by cemerlang on Saturday, 30 July 2011 - 9:05 am

    Force feeding will need restraint too.

  5. #5 by raven77 on Saturday, 30 July 2011 - 7:07 pm

    Forced feeding ? Did it actually happen ? And if it happened, who are the medical personnel who force fed the detained…?

    Will the MMA please investigate and let the public know who are these doctors and nurses who were comrade in arms with this despicable government…

You must be logged in to post a comment.