by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
April 25, 2014
Karpal Singh’s family does not expect any “favours” from Putrajaya in their appeal against the late lawyer and politician’s conviction and sentence for sedition, his son Gobind Singh Deo told a crowd of more than 3,000 last night.
The Puchong MP said he was aware of growing calls for Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to drop the cross-appeal to enhance Karpal’s sentence of a RM4,000 fine, but indicated that the family will continue with the appeal to remove the smudge from his illustrious career.
Karpal was fined RM4,000 after the High Court had in February 21 found the former DAP chairman guilty of uttering seditious words against the Sultan of Perak at the height of the constitutional crisis in 2009.
Karpal had filed his notice of appeal against the conviction and sentence and was awaiting the trial judge to provide the grounds of judgment before taking the matter to the Court of Appeal.
The 73-year-old Karpal, known as the Tiger of Jelutong, died in a road accident on the North-South Expressway near Kampar, Perak last week, alongside his aide Michael Cornelius.
“We don’t need any favours from the A-G. We don’t need his sympathies. We won’t back down, we will fight until the end because he would have fought it to the end,” Gobind said to a thunderous applause from thousands present at a memorial service held in honour of Karpal at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night.
Karpal was charged with committing the offence at his legal firm in Jalan Pudu Lama in Kuala Lumpur on February 6, 2009.
He had said the removal of Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as the menteri besar of Perak by Sultan Azlan Shah could be questioned in a court of law.
Karpal’s defence was that he offered a legal opinion and not a threat to the ruler, who was once the Lord President of the then Supreme Court.
At the event last night, Gobind took some time to begin speaking when he took the stage, as he seemed overcome by emotions. The crowd clapped and cheered him on.
Thanking those who had come to pay their respects as well as offering prayers and condolences, Gobind said it was important to finish what Karpal had begun for the country.
In saying that he was privileged to have known and have such a great father, whom he described as a “great man”, Gobind called on everyone to carry on Karpal’s fight to defend the rule of law and justice.
He said despite the numerous obstacles faced by his father – from being charged with sedition, detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the automobile accident in 2005 which confined him to a wheelchair – Karpal never gave up.
“Despite his condition, he fought on, never gave up. It was the spirit in him which I think all of us must learn from, his belief in the struggle for a Malaysian Malaysia where there is equality, fairness and justice. We cannot stop here, we must take this fight further,” he said.
He ended his speech with the phrase that has become synonymous with Karpal, “Jangan main-main, the tiger lives on!”, to which the crowd roared their approval.
Also present at the memorial last night were several top Pakatan Rakyat leaders, including opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who said despite the occasional public ticking-off from Karpal, he knew it was made without malice.
“I took it with an open heart, I looked at it like an affectionate slap on the wrist from an elder brother to a younger sibling,” he said, adding that he would not forget the regular visits from Karpal while he was in Sungai Buloh prison.
Anwar said in his final conversation with Karpal at 6.30pm on April 16, hours before the tragic accident, Anwar voiced his worries over the sodomy case.
“We ended our chat with a parting shot from Karpal, ‘Datuk Seri Anwar, you carry on, I will do my best, I will fight on, and you carry on’,” said Anwar.
Karpal’s party comrades also spoke at the event, with DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang describing Karpal’s death a personal sense of loss as both he and Karpal had fought together for the past 44 years.
“I first met him after I came out from my first ISA detention after the May 13 riots,” he said in referring to the bloody racial riots in 1969.
“Those days, although we had lots of support from Malaysians, very few were prepared to come forward to stick their necks out to face the powers-that-be.
“But Karpal was different, he joined DAP in 1970 and was at the forefront in the battle for a Malaysian Malaysia and we have fought for it together ever since,” he said.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said he will miss Karpal’s optimism and cheerfulness, saying that not only was the latter full of courage and vitality, he had also showed much strength, loyalty and idealism.
“When you are in trouble and in need of a friend, you better have Karpal Singh standing beside you because he will be loyal and will be right here to the bitter end with you, no matter what’s in front”.
DAP acting chairman Tan Kok Wai said Karpal had always been a nightmare to BN and this would continue even after his death, as shown in the government’s refused to allow a school hall to be used for his memorial, forcing the party to hold it at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall instead.
“To remember his sacrifice and fuilfil his dream of a better Malaysia, we in DAP promise to do our best in the next general election to end the hegemony of the party of crooks, thieves and tyrants,” he said in an apparent reference to BN.
He also paid tribute to Karpal’s aide Michael Cornelius, describing him an as “unsung hero” who had been faithful by Karpal’s side since the latter was left paralysed by an automobile accident in 2005.
“He had served well, without him, it won’t be possible for Karpal to serve as the voice of the voiceless,” he added. – April 25, 2014.