BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR | TMI
April 17, 2014
I met Mr Karpal Singh at his office in Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, about 7pm last night and spent about 45 minutes with him.
He had called me earlier to collect a copy of a court judgment of an important case.
He told me to come as early as possible because he had to go to Penang later that night, as he was defending a client in a murder trial at the Penang court the next morning (today).
Mr Karpal normally made it a point to inform me of court cases. He was one of my closest contacts on legal matters. It is through him that I get my exclusive stories.
Mr Karpal’s personal assistant, Micheal Cornelius, was there to welcome me at the entrance of the office.
It was through the late Michael that I communicated with Mr Karpal over the phone, after the Bukit Gelugor MP was left paralysed following a road accident in 2005.
As I walked into the office, he was busy giving instructions to his legal assistant Zaleha al-Hayat as he would be in Penang until next Tuesday.
Mr Karpal was in high spirits and even cracked a few jokes.
As usual, after collecting the judgment, we spoke about the judiciary and the political happenings in the country.
He remarked that he had seen and gone through the best in this beloved country of ours.
But he shuddered to think what the younger generation would go through.
V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor at The Malaysian Insider, says his friendship with the late Karpal began in 1986 when he was reporting in Seremban. Anbalagan was one of the few who was close to the late politician. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 17, 2014.V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor at The Malaysian Insider, says his friendship with the late Karpal began in 1986 when he was reporting in Seremban. Anbalagan was one of the few who was close to the late politician. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 17, 2014.He then received a call that his son, Gobind Singh Deo, was admitted at the Pantai Hospital. He said he would have to drop by the hospital before heading to Penang.
I also told him that I intended to do a story on the coroner’s court and that I needed his comments as he had been a counsel in many death inquiries.
He told me to call him around noon today.
Both of us left his office together and planned to meet again next week.
At about 3.30am, my wife woke me up to break the news that Mr Karpal had died in a road accident.
For a moment I thought I was dreaming and was in a state of disbelieve as I had just met him a few hours earlier. I checked my mobile phone and there were several messages on the accident.
I had known Mr Karpal since 1986 when I was a reporter in Seremban.
Our relationship grew and he always made it a point to call me if there were cases of public interest, even after I was transferred to work in Ipoh.
As a seasoned politician and lawyer, he knew what made news and he always kept me informed of the latest happenings.
Over the last 10 years, especially since I returned to work in Kuala Lumpur, I had more frequent contact with Mr Karpal as I used to cover court cases in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
I was among the few who had the chance to be close to Mr Karpal and he had at times divulged information to me that very few people knew.
Apart from him narrating his early days in Singapore as a student and the start of his legal career, our topics of discussion would focus on the judiciary and politics.
I always found Mr Karpal to be a straight-talker who did not mince his words. He also always cracked jokes in between our conversations.
On his conviction for sedition last month, Mr Karpal said that he did not regret what he had uttered because he believed in “free but responsible speech.”
Goodbye, Mr Karpal. I will miss you and your company very much. May your soul rest in peace. – April 17, 2014.