COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
April 21, 2014
The late DAP leader Karpal Singh’s funeral in Penang yesterday has been the biggest outpouring of grief in Malaysia since Tunku Abdul Rahman’s funeral in December 1990.
The crowd lining the George Town roads yesterday roared the prominent lawyer and politician’s name. Thousands others followed the cortege with Karpal’s body to the Batu Gantung crematorium for his final journey.
Penang wept for its favourite son, Malaysia cried for the loss of an influential lawmaker, lawyer and leader.
And those who tried to smear the late Karpal Singh’s character or make snide remarks found themselves in public odium and contempt – the Langkawi MP Datuk Nawawi Ahmad being one of them.
In short, the main conclusion that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his government can surmise from this outpouring of grief is simply this – Malaysians love their leaders and politicians who stand for something, to be men and women of principles.
It is not by accident that a multiracial crowd turned out, this was a politician who believed that everyone has a place under the Malaysian sun. Young, old – they were the people who have heard of Karpal Singh almost all their lives.
Everyone had a favourite tale to tell of the lawyer with the easy smile, the strong conviction and the sharp voice in court or Parliament – be they the hawkers in Green Hall or even his political foes in the Dewan Rakyat.
Perhaps some found themselves at the wrong end of the stick in Karpal’s 45 years in law and politics but the turnout yesterday showed the affection that many had for the lawyer.
Will there be such a turnout for the likes of Datuk Zulkifli Noordin, Datuk Ibrahim Ali, Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah or other leaders from both sides of the divide that only speak on behalf of their race?
Malaysia is in need of heroes – of principled people. The Tiger of Jelutong was one of them.
And the crowds’ lament for his loss reflects the need for more of such principled people to ensure equality and justice in Malaysia. – April 21, 2014.