Karpal’s dead body still no walkover

Abdar Rahman Koya
The Malaysian Insider
April 19, 2014

The Malay adage “Harimau mati tinggalkan belang, manusia mati tinggalkan nama” (A tiger leaves behind its stripes, a man leaves behind his deeds) can’t be more apt in describing the passing away of the Tiger of Jelutong.

Karpal Singh was both a tiger whose stripes patterned the Malaysian political landscape for so long, and a man whose name dominated contemporary Malaysian legal history. The courts and the Parliament will have a hard time shedding away his stripes for a long time.

In court, Karpal’s presence is a signal that a case is to be treated as important, deserving the widest coverage. He can choose to represent a food stall owner, or a former deputy prime minister, and both cases would be keenly observed by the legal fraternity. For when Karpal is the lawyer, it is not how a case would end, it is how it was argued in court.

Karpal proved that a good lawyer is not someone who never loses a case, but someone who takes the most difficult one and stands not a chance to either acquit or get a huge sum rewarded to his client. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Karpal, slain Beng Hock’s kin saw a beacon of hope

By Opalyn Mok
The Malaysian Insider
April 19, 2014

GEORGE TOWN, April 19 — The house at Number 144A Jalan Utama has seen a ceaseless stream of visitors since morning.

They came from all walks of life, mostly in groups, sometimes alone to offer their condolences to the family of the late Karpal Singh.

And to pay homage to the man they had greatly respected in life for his dedication to serving his fellow men, fighting their battles in Parliament and in court, unwavering in his steadfast belief in the rule of law.

The small group that managed to squeeze in after lunch had travelled all the way from Malacca.

On the faces of the late Teoh Beng Hock’s family was the sombre look that signalled the grief of a loved one snatched from life all too soon.

But their faces also wore the knowledge that even death does not halt the pursuit of justice. Read the rest of this entry »

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We love you, Tiger of Jelutong, grandchildren bid Karpal farewell

by Lee Shi-Ian
The Malaysian Insider
April 19, 2014

The late Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh was given a moving tribute and farewell by his grandchildren tonight, who vowed to take up the mantle of Tiger of Jelutong.

The 11 grandchildren, aged between 1½ years and 11, showed the media a poster which they had made together.

“Singh is King. We love you, Tiger of Jelutong. We will miss you. Jangan main-main. My defender of the defenceless. We will all be tigers like you,” the grandchildren said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Michael Ong

Karpal was unquestionably unique

A gentle giant among lawyers and politicians

Relentlessly reaching for justice within a weaken judiciary

Playing the game despite rigged rules and changing goal posts

Always hoping against hope that a new dawn will deliver Read the rest of this entry »

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Honour Karpal by continuing his legacy

Mariam Mokhtar | April 18, 2014
Free Malaysia Today

It is now for us to band together and emulate his unshakable sense of duty and fair play, to resume his fight for a just and equal society.


Karpal SinghA plaque, presented by a grateful client, hangs on the wall of Karpal Singh’s office and it reads, ‘Noble and able defender of the defenceless’. The words were a source of inspiration for the Bukit Gelugor MP, whose untimely death in the early hours of Thursday morning, has shocked a nation.

“I will definitely return,” said Karpal to Penang’s Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, when they met recently, and he told Lim that he would vacate his post as the DAP chairman, pending his appeal against the charges of sedition.

A few days after making those remarks, Karpal perished in a car accident on the highway near Gua Tempurung. Malaysia has been robbed of one of its true patriots.

Karpal will return. His death has stirred our consciences. His “return” would be symbolic because it is now for us, to band together and continue his legacy, to resume his fight for a fair, just and equal society for all Malaysians.

Instead of having to thwart one Karpal Singh, the authorities will now have to fight off hundreds, if not thousands of Karpal Singhs, all with one aim – to continue the struggle for fairness, to fight injustice and to uphold the rule of law, without fear or favour. That is Karpal’s “return”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Karpal’s roaring spirit lives on

Josh Hong
Apr 18, 2014

Like many, I belong to the generation who grew up hearing the great name and deeds of Karpal Singh who fought tirelessly for a just Malaysia that would adhere to constitutionalism at all costs.

The fact that I had never met the man personally did not stop me from developing a profound admiration for his fighting spirit. In the past 15 years especially, the borderless Internet has made access to news and information far easier, and I enjoy thoroughly watching Karpal’s public speeches and listening to his uplifting messages that he was hammering home.

Most importantly, coming from a generation when legal practice was highly respected and in which lawyers and judges must work strenuously, arduously and judiciously to prove their worth, Karpal has clearly left a deep imprint in Malaysian society.

In any mature and healthy parliamentary democracy, the tragic and untimely passing of an outstanding lawyer and also a formidable parliamentarian who has contributed tremendously to upholding the true spirit of law and constitution as well as to the democratic process would rightly deserve a full and proper acknowledgement by the state, and parliament would be recalled so that fellow lawmakers could have an opportunity to pay tributes to an experienced and well respected statesman.

But Karpal was not born in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada or New Zealand but Malaysia. Be that as it may, one can take comfort in the fact that the Tiger of Jelutong himself would have no regret being born a true son of Malaysian soil and fighting a good fight for a country that he held dear. Read the rest of this entry »

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St Xavier’s schools honour Karpal

– 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. Read the rest of this entry »

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A poem for Karpal

– C.K. Yeo
The Malayian Insider
April 18, 2014

Part 1 – The sad tribute

As life will dictate
Your work more to add
Our tears will never dry
We will, as you journey on
You have done your best
Forever in Heaven’s bay Read the rest of this entry »

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He is the one…

– Tan Zhong Yan
The Malaysian Insider
April 18, 2014

He is the one whom I look up to since young;

the one whom I respect and admire.

He is the one who will always be at the forefront,

to fight for justice and rights of the weak and oppressed.

He is the one who believes in justice;

the one who upholds the Constitution and the rule of law. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kit Siang drapes comrade’s casket with DAP flag

by Looi Sue-Chern
The Malaysian Insider
April 18, 2014

It was a sombre, moving scene at the home of Karpal Singh this afternoon as veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang draped the party flag over the casket of his “brother-in-arms” in honour of the former chairman’s 44-year crusade for the opposition party.

Kit Siang, who brought along an old record book of the party, said that Karpal joined DAP during the “darkest hours” of the nation and the party on December 28, 1970. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Economist: Karpal was rare gem of Malaysian politics

APRIL 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Since his shocking death yesterday, the late Karpal Singh has been called “friend” by many that others would have thought to be irreconcilable foes.

At an emotive scene at the lawmaker’s home in Penang hours after his death, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin consoled a distraught Gobind Singh Deo, Karpal’s second son, when he went to pay his respects to the family.

Before that, contemporary and regular rival Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had described the Bukit Gelugor MP as “good friend”, despite regularly crossing swords with Karpal when he had still been MIC president.

“Karpal Singh, who died in a car accident in the early hours of April 17th at the age of 74, was a rarity in the venomous world of Malaysian politics: a man respected by many of his opponents as well as those on his own side,” according to an obituary by The Economist today.

In the tribute titled “Burning Bright”, it noted that once-bitter rivals have lined to honour the man known as the “Tiger of Jelutong”, even those who tasted the acerbic sting of his tongue. Read the rest of this entry »

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One of modern Malaysia’s great men

By P Gunasegaram | Malaysiakini
Apr 18, 2014

Taking an overview of his own tempestuous life, Karpal Singh believes he has been able to achieve more via the law than he has as the perennial hardball opposition DAP politician. – author Tim Donoghue in his book, ‘Karpal Singh, Tiger of Jelutong.

QUESTION TIME It seems like he has been in politics forever but it was in law where he made his mark first. History will likely remember him more for his achievements in that arena and the truly tireless efforts he made towards the cause of human rights and equality, the last nine years in a wheelchair.

The cruel hands of fate may have dealt Karpal Singh a double blow, making him a tetraplegic in a car accident in 2005 and then, after he courageously made a life for himself following that tragedy, the accident early yesterday morning where he lost his life.

But it can’t ever take away the many achievements he made in his full and varied life, overcoming great obstacles and odds to make a significant positive difference to this country, making him one of modern Malaysia’s greatest men and a patriot.

It was in 1978 that Karpal stepped firmly into the national political arena, winning the Parliamentary seat of Jelutong in Penang. He held it for 21 years, lost in 1999 but was returned as MP for Bukit Gelugor in 2004, retaining the seat in the two subsequent elections of 2008 and 2013.

Last year, for my birthday, a friend of mine gave me a copy of the book, ‘Karpal Singh, Tiger of Jelutong’, a biography by New Zealand journalist Tim Donoghue who first met Karpal in 1987. Karpal was representing New Zealand mother and son Lorraine and Aaron Cohen in a drug trafficking case but was himself in detention under the infamous Internal Security Act at the time used by Dr Mahathir Mohamad to detain over 100 people under his Operation Lallang.

I put the book away then for another day but last night I pulled it out and stayed up to read it, coming up with a new and fresh appreciation of the man who I already admired tremendously for his guts, gumption and zeal in battling an increasingly corrupt, arrogant and authoritarian Barisan Nasional government at great cost to himself and his family. Read the rest of this entry »

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Karpal Singh – Fearless Tiger, Freedom Fighter

By Pauline Fan | MMO
April 18, 2014

The death of Karpal Singh marks the passing of a people’s hero.

A larger-than-life figure on the troubled terrain of Malaysia’s political landscape, Karpal hailed from a generation who were unafraid to fight for what they believe in and who summoned unflinching tenacity to see their principles through to the bitter end.

A fiercely uncompromising warrior for social justice and human freedom, Karpal embodied what is most brave and noble in the Malaysian spirit. He showed us time and again that we are made of sterner stuff than the communalism and factionalism that has come to dominate our national politics in recent decades.

There was much about Karpal that was iconic — his bristly white beard; his keen eyes aflame with wit and idealism; his warm, fatherly smile; his arm outstretched in defiance; his trademark phrase, ‘Jangan main-main’.

In a political career with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) that spanned eight terms in Parliament and four terms as state assemblyman in Kedah and Penang, as well as a year-and-a-half of detention without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA), Karpal was the consummate opposition leader. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Air Itam, memories of ‘Karpal’s coffee shop’

By Opalyn Mok |MMO
April 18, 2014

GEORGE TOWN, April 18 — In the working-class neighbourhood of Air Itam in Penang’s Bukit Gelugor constituency, the Ju Huat Coffee Shop is just another local eatery in a city famous for its food.

But locals call it by another moniker — “Karpal’s coffee shop”.

This was the coffee shop they went to if they wanted to seek the help of Karpal Singh, the veteran lawyer-politician who was killed in a road accident early yesterday.

Ju Huat Coffee Shop has been since 2008 Karpal’s chosen venue for holding press conferences and meeting voters.

Coffee shop owner Tan Bak Chooi, 50, said Karpal has probably held hundreds of press conferences at his coffee shop.

“He used to have press conferences once or twice a month here and he would always call us before he comes so that we will prepare a parking spot for him and get the tables arranged,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Karpal’s last words in Parliament

By Aidila Razak | Malaysiakini
Apr 18, 2014

Karpal Singh is best known for his fiery speeches in the Dewan Rakyat, earning him the moniker the ‘Tiger of Jelutong’. Even during his last appearance in a parliamentary debate, the 74-year-old wheelchair-bound MP didn’t disappoint.

“The Honourable Speaker should not play around with the (Federal) Constitution. Follow the Constitution. This is the supreme law of the land, not the Standing Orders.

“Standing orders can be suspended. There are provisions (for that), discretion can be used. Why are you not using your discretion?

“This is the second time the conduct of judges is raised in this House. I had (before) moved a motion against… the former chief justice Zaki Azmi (left). Nothing happened. Why?

“Why is this House afraid of judges? Are we afraid to debate about judges’ conduct? So what am I saying… (is) don’t play around (with the Constitution),” said Karpal, igniting an uproar in the House. Read the rest of this entry »

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Karpal Singh, a man for true believers of justice

APRIL 18, 2014

As I sat here at my home in Penang at 4 am in the morning of April 17, 2014, waiting for my driver to come and pick me up to go to the Ipoh Hospital, I felt numb by the shocking news relayed to my wife Betty through my sister Hui Ying an hour earlier. I had gone to bed early as I was unwell and was still groggy when the import of her words sunk in.

DAP national chairman Karpal Singh, who meant so much to us, was gone. A man filled with such vitality, brilliance and energy was no more. A leader who gave forth so much strength, vision and guidance had left us.

A true friend in our darkest days whether in the depths of prison cells or the abyss of electoral defeat had departed. A loving father and an even more loving husband had suddenly passed away on the early hours of this terrible, rainy April 17, 2014.

As the messages and tweets on the handphone flashed back and forth, scattering my thoughts everywhere, I could not find the words to describe my acute sense of loss. DAP leaders are shaken because it was so sudden and unexpected. Karpal left before his time when he still had so much to contribute.

I will miss hearing the cheer in Karpal’s voice, the optimism that comes from doing the right thing and the fighting spirit no matter highly impossible the odds. But I can still hear Karpal’s voice – undaunted and forthright with a deep sense of humanity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Karpal Singh left his mark on Malaysian law, say legal experts

APRIL 18, 2014

In a legal career spanning almost half a century, the late Karpal Singh contributed immensely to the development of Malaysian criminal and civil law with nearly 600 citations in the Malaysian Law Journal, say fellow legal minds.

They told The Malaysian Insider that the prominent legal eagle, who died in a road accident yesterday, could do this as he was a versatile lawyer who argued and tested cases in court.

They also said that Karpal had the advantage of pointing out why certain laws were inapplicable and needed further amendment as he could also lobby for change in Parliament.

Karpal was also a perfect role model for any aspiring law student because he possessed qualities required of a fearless advocate, they added.

Penang-based lawyer Datuk K. Kumaraendran, who started practice at the same time as Karpal, said the lawyer-cum-politician took up cases that involved the burden of proof.

“In the interest of justice, he developed the law because there was uncertainty over the issue of innocent until proven guilty,” said Kumaraendan, who appeared together with Karpal in many criminal cases in the late 70s and early 80s.

Karpal was also a pioneer in taking up drug trafficking and habeas corpus cases, added Kumaraendan, who started his legal career in Alor Star together with the late lawyer. Read the rest of this entry »

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10 things about: Karpal Singh, The Tiger of Jelutong

By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
April 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — For many who had the pleasure of meeting him, the late Karpal Singh was an approachable statesman and lawyer who had a time for everyone who sought his counsel.

The man has been dubbed “a friend to the oppressed and marginalised” was killed in a road accident in the early hours of Thursday. A previous road accident had already left him in a wheel chair.

Karpal was the MP for Jelutong for 21 years. At his death, he was the MP for Bukit Gelugor, having held the seat since 2004.

The DAP veteran left behind five children, four grandchildren, and his wife of over 40 years, Gurmit Kaur.

Here are ten choice quotes from his 44 years in the legal and political arena: Read the rest of this entry »

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The life and times of Karpal Singh: A fighter to the very end

By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
April 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Karpal Singh, the veteran opposition politician, died in a car crash early this morning on the way to a court hearing in Penang, forever defining the DAP chairman as a fighter for just cause to the very end.

Despite his reputation as a political institution, the Bukit Gelugor MP thought of himself as more of a lawyer than a politician, as noted in a media interview during his 70th birthday in 2010.

He was survived by five children, four grandchildren, and Gurmit Kaur, his wife of over 40 years.

Here are some of his defining moments in the Tiger of Jelutong’s illustrious career as a lawyer and statesman:


Following the May 13 riots the year before, Karpal joined DAP citing the party’s multiracial political platform.

He had also started his own law firm after being called to the Penang Bar in 1969. Read the rest of this entry »

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Loss of statesman and ‘adab’

– Abdul Haleem Abdul Rahiman
The Malaysian Insider
April 17, 2014

The nation lost a statesman – Karpal Singh. The tragedy is not his death but the death of compassion and “adab” – manners. Are we growing as a nation or merely breeding for sake of God?

Why the religion is used for utter nonsense and moronic theories? Where is the compassion? Does the skullcap on your head make you dumb and dumber?

In my humble opinion, we have bigots in the august house because we lack of men and women with integrity.

The ones with principles. Surely, he is one hell of a man with strong principles. A man who never compromised on his principles. Even if you were going to throw him in jail.

He is gone now. He is not coming back and we are not sure if we’ll see another Malaysian lawyer cum MP as good as him.

Where are your manners when you proudly post those pictures? Be it real or graphics. Don’t you have any shame? Do you call yourself a leader? You are a disgrace. Read the rest of this entry »

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