by Lee Shi-Ian
The Malaysian Insider
April 25, 2014
It was a night of mixed emotions at a memorial for the late Karpal Singh which was attended by more than 3,000 people at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall yesterday.
There were tears, laughter, defiance, grief and above all, respect from those who begin arriving as early as 6pm to pay their respects to the late veteran lawyer and politician affectionately known as the “Tiger of Jelutong”.
Young and old, Malaysians from all walks of life came to honour the memory of Karpal who died in a road accident last Thursday along with his trusted aide, Michael Cornelius.
Outside the hall, Rela personnel ensured that traffic was smooth, directing vehicles to various parking areas.
At the main entrance of the premises a large screen had been erected, on which scenes from Karpal’s state funeral on Sunday were depicted.
Another screen was set up inside the main hall where the memorial service was held.
Volunteers handed out flowers, posters and stickers of Karpal to people as they entered the hall. There were also donation boxes placed at the entrance.
A large portrait of Karpal was set on the stage and people were seen placing flowers and bowing before the image.
By 7.20pm, the hall was packed to its capacity with some 3,000 people. Many sat on the floor after all available seats were filled. Others stood at the entrance when there was no more room in the hall.
A thunderous applause rocked the hall when the emcees, who spoke in Mandarin, English and Hindi, announced the arrival of Karpal’s son, Gobind Singh Deo. Some shouted “DAP! Karpal!” as others clapped.
The memorial service kicked off with a speech from Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai, who criticised Barisan Nasional for not attending.
Then former National Human Rights Society president Malik Imtiaz Sarwar took to the stage and reminisced about his childhood days growing up with Karpal’s children.
He spoke fondly of Karpal, describing him as “the coolest uncle I ever knew”, and related how Karpal often protected the children when they got into trouble with their mothers for being mischievous.
A speech and song were then presented by political activist Hishammuddin Rais and Nik Jidan.
National Laureate A. Samad Said touched the crowd when he presented a sajak (poem) composed in honour of Karpal.
Former Bersih chairperson Datuk S. Ambiga, in her tribute to Karpal said: “The thousands who are (here) tonight, the thousands who came on Sunday, that was the biggest tribute and honour of all for Karpal.”
PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, or Mat Sabu, said Karpal was a fiery MP who had reprimanded the Speaker in Parliament on numerous occasions, even telling him he was not fit to sit in the chair.
Mat Sabu regaled the crowd with stories of Karpal, saying even when Karpal was thrown out of the Dewan Rakyat, he always returned unrepentant as he believed in what he was fighting for.
Speeches were also made by DAP life adviser Dr Chen Man Hin and Dr Norleen Heyzer, who is the special adviser to the United Nations secretary-general for Timor Leste and the widow of the late Fan Yew Teng, the former Kampar MP and Petaling Jaya state assemblyman.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also took to the stage to pay tribute to Karpal.
At 10.30pm, after Kit Siang gave the last speech, the emcees asked the crowd to queue in an orderly manner to place flowers in front of Karpal’s portrait. Some were seen crying as they stopped at the portrait before leaving the memorial. – April 25, 2014.