Remembering Karpal Singh for his bravery, integrity, relentless pursuit of justice

PETALING JAYA, April 21: A man of integrity who bravely and relentlessly pursued justice was the common description of the late Karpal Singh by all those who spoke at a special tribute commemorating his 10th death anniversary here on Wednesday.

What was a bit more uncommon was the little interesting stories each of those who spoke had to tell, whether they were from the courtroom or Parliament, highlighting the many aspects of the former Member of Parliament of Jelutong and lawyer as he fought and won many battles both for the common man and the bigwigs, earning the title Tiger of Jelutong along the way.

Yet, he was never a politician in the court and neither was he a lawyer in the Parliament – it was always about the law and that led him, and that was the reason he argued the way he did and that was why he was respected, attested human rights lawyer Dato Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who was among the three speakers, the other two being former High Court and Court of Appeal judge Dato Seri Hishamudin Yunos and former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, at the Honouring Karpal Singh: His Life, Career and The Fight for Justice event. The talk was moderated by lawyer and Member of Parliament for Bangi, Syahredzan Johan.

“As a young lawyer it was incredible to watch him then,” said Imitiaz who cited several other instances of Karpal’s oratory prowess, his determination to see justice served, as well as his sense of humour in many situations both in the courtroom and Parliament.

“There can never be another Karpal,” said Tommy Thomas, who gave an insight into a few of the famous cases that Karpal had handled during his years as a leading lawyer in the country. He was one of the most courageous lawyers and principled politician the country had, he said. He also spoke of Karpal’s opposition to race based parties and the country becoming a theocratic state.

DAP veteran and living national treasure, Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang, in his speech recalled the dedication and commitment of Karpal to uphold the rule of law, justice and good governance, saying how the new generation of Malaysians should continue to carry on with such dedication to ensure the country’s success.

DAP Secretary General Anthony Loke Siew Fook who also took to stage at the event, described Karpal as one of the pillars of DAP and how the party would not be where it was today without the commitment of Karpal and other founding members including Kit Siang to keep it together during the most challenging of times.

The legacy of courage and honesty he left behind was cearly seen in the respect and the tribute thousands of people paid to him during his funeral in Penang 10 years ago.

DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng spoke of the shared passion for the DAP party by Karpal and his father Kit Siang. He also recalled some amusing episodes shared with Karpal as they kept company in prison following their arrest under the Operation Lalang, like how he became a “typist” and prepared the affidavits for Karpal.

The crowd of more than 400 at the event included Karpal’s family members, namely his widow, Gurmit Kaur, sons Digital Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Jelutong MP Ramkarpal Singh, daughter Sangeet Kaur Deo, DAP deputy secretary for international affairs Kasthuri Patto, as well as Members of Parliament, state assemblymen, members of the legal fraternity and friends.

Gobind in his tribute spoke of the family man Karpal was – his commitment to the family, and his strong influence on all his children, both at the work sphere and personal life. He also credited his mother, Gurmit, for her undivided support to Karpal.