BY JENNIFER GOMEZ | TMI
April 17, 2014
Latest Update: April 17, 2014 12:04 pm
As Malaysia woke to the tragic news of the passing of opposition icon Karpal Singh, tributes and expressions of shock poured in through social media, with “Karpal Singh” and “Tiger of Jelutong” among the top news trending on Twitter since this morning.
One Twitter user going by the handle @Babyan Haha posted: “RIP Karpal Singh. My father even cried after watching the news at 8am just now”.
NGO Tindak Malaysia posted: We mourn the passing of a fighter for justice and a Tiger that helped shape the politics of Malaysia for the better”.
Another user going by the handle Seorang Tuiter posted that “the lion sleeps for the last time”.
Lawyer Nizam Bashir @nizambashir also took to Twitter, saying that “words can’t do justice for what the man stood for”.
AirAsia founder Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes posted his condolences to Karpal’s family over what he termed “sad and tragic news”.
Meanwhile prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan told The Malaysian Insider that she grew up at the Bar “admiring the great Karpal Singh”.
“He was never afraid to speak his mind even if what he said was not popular.
“He was a man of great principle and great courage, fighting to the bitter end against oppression,” she said, adding that Karpal gave hope to people to always stand up for what is right, no matter what the consequences.
“Parliament will never be the same without Karpal,” Ambiga said.
Lawyer Sankara Nair, who was in the defence team for opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in both sodomy cases along with Karpal, hailed the 73–year-old as a “great hero till the very end”.
“He was a giant in Malaysian politics who spoke out against injustice where others did not dare tread,” he said.
Criminal lawyer Datuk V. Sithambaram recalled how, as Karpal’s junior in many criminal cases, the towering politician had taught him to be absolutely forthright in court.
“Once, we both shared RM2,000 in fees for a Federal Court case carrying the death penalty, where he reminded me that the case was more important than the fees.
“He was a man of compassion,” Sithambaram said, adding that brevity in submissions was Karpal’s trademark in court.
Anwar said the news of Karpal’s passing was “like a lightning bolt”, adding that he had lost a “brother-in-arms” who was “a true friend, kind in words, noble in deed”.
PKR deputy president Azmin Ali said: “This is a loss which transcends party and state. Indeed, Karpal was our nation’s icon of justice and courage to struggle for what is right. He fought tooth and nail for the oppressed and the less privileged and remained a true champion for the underdog.
“On a very personal side, I am deeply saddened to have lost not just a friend but a mentor whom I have had the privilege and honour of seeking for advice and guidance.”
Barisan Nasional politicians also took to social media to mourn the passing of a great man, with Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tweeting: “Deepest condolences to family of MP YB Karpal Singh on his passing. Thoughts and prayers r with you in these difficult moments @GobindSinghDeo”.
MCA president Liow Tiong Lai also took to Twitter to express his sadness and convey condolences to Karpal’s family.
Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek called Karpal’s death “a profound loss to the nation”, saying that Karpal’s “persistence and perseverance in his long political career are appreciated and respected”.
Even Karpal’s political foes mourned his passing with former PKR politician and former MP for Padang Serai, N. Gobalakrisnan, posting on Twitter: “Rest in Peace Karpal, every Malaysian will miss you”.
Members of the media who covered Karpal in court also remember him as a lawyer who would patiently explain a case, even when he lost.
A former court reporter, Dian Salleh, posted on Facebook that she would always remember Karpal as taking the trouble to explain a case to reporters.
“Rest in Peace Mr Karpal and Michael. Both of you were always helpful to me and my media friends wherever we covered your cases,” she posted alongside a sad emoticon.
Another former court reporter from a Chinese daily, Cheong Ka Mei, also posted on Facebook: “It took me a few months to understand you in court. Yet you were kind enough to explain”. – April 17, 2014.