Sivarasa Rasiah

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In this Indian name, the name Rasiah is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, Sivarasa.
Yang Berhormat
Sivarasa Rasiah
சிவராசா ராசையா

MP
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Subang
Incumbent
Assumed office
8 March 2008
Preceded by Tan Sri K. S. Nijhar
Personal details
Born Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Political party PKRPakatan Rakyat
Spouse(s) Ann James
Occupation Member of Parliament
lawyer
Religion Hindu

Sivarasa Rasiah (Tamil: சிவராசா ராசையா),or also known as R.Sivarasa is a prominent Malaysian politician, lawyer and human rights activist of Ceylonese/Sri Lankan descent. He is co-founder of Suara Rakyat Malaysia or Suaram (a human rights NGO) and vice-president of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People's Justice Party). In the 2008 general election, Sivarasa was elected as the Member of Parliament for Subang, defeating his opponent by a 6,000 vote majority.[1]

Early life[edit]

Though today he may be one of the top lawyers in Kuala Lumpur, Siva's first degree was actually in genetics.

Reminiscing on his early days in an interview with the New Straits Times, Siva said, "I was trying to get into medicine after high school in Victoria Institution but didn't make the grade. Form Five was great but I guess in Form Six, there were many distractions. So instead I went into genetics in Universiti Malaya and graduated with first class honours. Six months into my Master's I realised that this was not my cup of tea and was already looking at other options.”

He then applied for a Rhodes scholarship to pursue law at Oxford University. After completing his law degree and the Bar in Britain, Siva took a year off and went to Germany where he spent most of his time in libraries there reading. He worked for a bit after that in London before returning to Malaysia on his 30th birthday.

Activism and politics[edit]

It was while he was in the United Kingdom that he got interested in human rights and "became involved with union workers and stuff like that there".

His first involvement with an NGO was in 1997 when he got involved with a women's group called Citizens Against Rape. Siva got arrested twice during the 1998 Reformasi period but shrugs it off as part and parcel of the job. He later joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

In the 2008 general election, Sivarasa was elected as the Member of Parliament for Subang, defeating his opponent by a 6,000-vote majority.[1]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Ann James, a personality in the Malaysian theatre scene. He met his wife at a demonstration as well. "It was during Operasi Lalang and she was there too. We were kind of thrown together and that's when it all happened. After a long courtship, we finally got married in 1993", he revealed in the NST interview.

Although Sivarasa has had brushes with the police, both his father and his older brother were members of the force; his father was the registrar of the police force and his older brother was a senior police officer.

This lawyer-cum-politician is a cancer survivor who lost his voice for almost a year due to thyroid cancer which damaged a nerve on his vocal cords. He had to speak with a little boom box and a speaker for a while due to this. He has regained his voice but he says, "I can't sing or shout, but at least I still can talk.”

He is also an avid guitar player.

Election results[edit]

Parliament of Malaysia[2][3]
Year Constituency Opposition Votes Pct Government Votes Pct Other parties Votes Pct
2004 P105 PJ Selatan, Selangor Sivarasa A/L K. Rasiah (PKR) 13,638 28% Donald Lim Siang Chai (MCA) 35,054 72%
2008 P107 Subang, Selangor Sivarasa A/L K. Rasiah (PKR) 35,024 53% Murugesan A/L Sinnandavar (MIC) 28,315 43%
2013 Sivarasa A/L K. Rasiah (PKR) 66,268 58.65% Pakas Rao A/L Applanaidoo (MIC) 39,549 35.00% Edros Abdullah (Ind)
Mohamad Ismail (BERJASA)
Nazaruddin Mohd Ferdoos (Ind)
218
4,454
460
0.19%
3.94%
0.41%

References[edit]

See also[edit]