Mourn, but fete Karpal’s achievements, too


Lim Guan Eng
Malaysiakini
Apr 20, 2014

EULOGY We mourn the untimely and unexpected passing of DAP national chairperson and Member of Parliament for Bukit Gelugor, Saudara Karpal Singh.

Karpal is an eight-term MP, for Bukit Gelugor and Jelutong, as well as a three- term state assemblyman in Penang, first elected in 1978.

For 40 years, Karpal dedicated his life to the legal profession, fighting for justice, upholding our constitutional rights to freedom and human rights. His landmark cases are textbook references for lawyers.

A devoted father and husband to his wife Gurmit Kaur, both of them brought up five children who are all successful practising lawyers, except for the youngest who is an accountant. The eldest, Jagdeep is at present a Penang state executive councillor, while the second eldest Gobind is the Member of Parliament for Puchong.

With his life suddenly cut short at 74 years, following the tragic accident on the highway on April 17, Penang has lost an upstanding and outstanding leader and lawyer. The rakyat lost a fearless “tiger” with an indomitable spirit who stood up for the poor, weak, defenceless and dispossessed.

Karpal’s fighting spirit stands out

But it his fighting spirit that stands out. You can detain Karpal physically, but you can never detain his spirit.

I saw this myself, when we were both detained without trial under the now repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1988, at the Kamunting Detention Camp. He suffered from severe spinal back pains, but refused to yield.

This refusal to yield was evident even after Karpal suffered an unfortunate accident in 2005, which paralysed him waist-down.

Not only did he overcome this paralysis, but he continued his brilliant legal and political career. Karpal became the first disabled person in Malaysia to be elected twice to Parliament, both times with huge majorities.

In seeking both rule of law and a better Malaysia, Karpal practised what he preached – refusing to take fees for cases of gross injustices, even from the famous VIPs like parliamentary Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang, and even from the poor Malay, Indian or Chinese.

His departure will leave an immense void, not only in his family’s lives, but also in those of all Malaysians whose lives have been inspired by his principled cause.

To Karpal’s family, we share your grief in this time of bereavement with deepest sympathies and condolences.

Thomas Jefferson said that when the government fears the people, there is liberty; when the people fear the government, there is tyranny. Throughout his life, Karpal showed us how not to fear the government.

Let us therefore mourn Karpal Singh, and at the same time, honour him by celebrating his accomplishments and realising his aspirations for justice, integrity and freedom.

Thank you, Karpal. Rest in peace.

This is the State Eulogy presented by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng during the public funeral conducted by the Penang State Government for Karpal Singh at Dewan Sri Pinang at 10.15am on April 20.

LIM GUAN ENG is Chief Minister of Penang and DAP secretary-general.

Print Friendly

  1. No comments yet.

You must be logged in to post a comment.