A Giant Has Fallen
With deep regret YB Karpal Singh was killed in a car crash near the deadly Gua Tempurung stretch in Kampar area. Karpal was looked up as a fighter who inspired many to join the struggle for justice. Also killed in the accident was his long trusted assistant Michael Cornandez.
The Tiger of Jelutong, a bright Star that will always be remembered. Condolences to the family members.
KARPAL gone but BURNING BRIGHT - The Economist
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.
That side, for all of a long career in politics, was the opposition to Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has held power ever since independence in 1957. Yet on Facebook and on Twitter condolences to his family have poured in from across the political spectrum, including from the prime minister, Najib Razak, who paid tribute to a “formidable opponent”. Known as “the Tiger of Jelutong” after the constituency on the island of Penang he long represented, Mr Karpal was indeed formidable.
Anwar Ibrahim, leader of an opposition coalition, of which Mr Karpal’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) forms part, mourned the passing of “my brother-in-arms for freedom and democracy, an inspiring symbol for the struggle against oppression and injustice and a man of unimpeachable moral integrity."
For most of Mr Karpal’s political career, opposition politics has been a mug’s game, offering virtually no chance of winning power, and endless trouble, from petty harassment to, in Mr Karpal’s case, imprisonment.
He was one of 106 critics of the BN government who were locked up in 1987 under Malaysia’s Internal Security Act by the government of Mahathir Mohamad, a long-serving prime minister. The act itself was repealed in 2012. Mr Karpal also campaigned long and hard against the death penalty in Malaysia, which still remains on the books.
But Mr Karpal was no mug. He was recognised as a fine lawyer, even if he often found himself on the losing side. In one of his recent defeats, in March, an acquittal that had been won for his client, Mr Anwar, was overturned; a charge of sodomy was reinstated against him. Mr Anwar was sentenced to five years in jail, though he is appealing against the verdict.
A few days later Mr Karpal himself was found guilty—of sedition. Mr Karpal escaped with a fine rather than a jail term, but the conviction caused outrage. His crime was a remark he made during a press conference in 2009, when he merely expressed his legal opinion on a political dispute in Perak, one of the states in the Malaysian federation.
The conviction meant Mr Karpal had to give up his chairmanship of the DAP, the ethnic-Chinese-dominated party that led the charge for the opposition in last year’s election. Their coalition actually won the popular vote. Gerrymandered constituencies mean it has something far short of a parliamentary majority, but death has taken Mr Karpal at a time when prospects for the Malaysian opposition look better than ever before in his long career.
It will be tested, however, by the loss of Mr Karpal, and perhaps of Mr Anwar, too, if he is again removed from the political fray and put behind bars. Mr Karpal’s popularity was due to more than his tigerish courage and tenacity. His dignity, modesty, humour and courtesy, all played their parts. A BBC radio interview in 2011 demonstrated also the remarkable lack of rancour with which he accepted his life’s many travails—including an earlier road accident, in 2005, that left him in a wheelchair.
It was also a reminder that, though his death has been greeted with respect and regret (some nasty political jibes notwithstanding), that is not how Malaysia's opposition politicians are treated when alive. Mr Karpal had described taunts about his disability and even death threats, in the form of bullets sent in the post. All this he dismissed as "professional hazards". Many people, he said, wanted him dead. “I tell them 'You have to join the queue'.” -www.economist.com
Malaysia's Hero for Justice - A Biography of Karpal Singh
A must read book in remembering and honor a brave advocate for justice. It took a while to decide if this book should be highlighted here to remind us there's a true Malaysian hero and an outstanding man nicknamed the Tiger of Jelutong - a name given by the people in his Penang constituency.
This is a biographical book about a great human rights advocate - Karpal Singh whom had shaped our own nation's history in dedicating his life to defending countless peoples with righteousness and without any fear even he was unlawfully being detained under the draconian ISA. Karpal is uniquely a true fighter for justice.
This book is available in Popular Bookstore at RM49.90 with 20% discount if you have Popular membership.
Title: Karpal Singh Tiger of Jelutong
Author: Tim Donoghue
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013
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