– Francis Loh Kok Wah
The Malaysian Insider
April 18, 2014
The Board of Governors and Managers of the St Xavier’s schools in Penang have expressed sorrow over the death of one of their most illustrious students.
We, the Boards of Governors and Managers of St Xavier’s Institution, SK St Xavier’s, and SK St Xavier’s Cawangan are deeply saddened to hear of YB Karpal Singh’s sudden death.
Karpal was one of our “towering Malaysians”, a most illustrious son, no doubt.
He was dubbed the “Tiger of Jelutong”, from where he was repeatedly elected into Parliament, before he moved to contest and represent Bukit Gelugor, both constituencies in Penang.
Karpal was a fearless and renowned lawyer. In and out of Parliament, Karpal spoke out bravely against the making of unjust and bad laws, and opposed policies that discriminated against the downtrodden and minorities while favouring the cronies and racial or religious exclusivists.
He also condemned the use of these bad laws to oppress critics, activists and opposition leaders.
In this regard, he was among those detained without trial under the Internal Security Act during Ops Lalang 1987.
He was respected not only among freedom-loving and justice-seeking Malaysians of all races and religions, he was also respected by foreign political leaders and law experts, and international human rights groups.
He was proud of his party, the Democratic Action Party, and ultimately served as its chairman.
Yet Karpal never forgot his roots. One of these roots led back to his alma mater in Penang. In 2009, he was the guest of honour at SXI’s annual speech day.
In 2011, he came to SXI to speak at the launching of the memoirs entitled “The Man from Borneo”, authored by Rev Bro Datuk Michael Jacques, his former teacher.
In 2012, he found time to grace the 160th anniversary dinner commemorating the founding of his alma mater in 1852, and in 2013, he came to pay his respects and to bid farewell to Rev Bro Datuk Charles Levin, the longest-serving director of SXI.
Indeed, it was Karpal who had nominated the good Brother for datukship honours from the Penang government. He also donated generously to SXI’s various causes.
And now, we mourn the passing of YB Karpal Singh, too. No doubt, he imbibed many La Salle values, not least our special concern for “the last, the lost and the least”.
Karpal’s death is a major loss for our country and Parliament, his party and the democratic struggle, and to our St Xavier’s schools.
May our students and all young Malaysians learn from Karpal’s love, service and dedication to his nation Malaysia, and to people of all faiths and races.
Rest in Peace, dear Sir. God’s Peace and Blessings to you, and to your family and friends on this sorrowful occasion. – April 18, 2014.
* Dr Francis Loh Kok Wah is chairman, Board of Governors, St Xavier’s Institution, and Board of Managers, SK St Xavier and SK St Xavier Cawangan.