Over 15,000 show up to say farewell to Karpal

EXCELLENT LIVE COVERAGE by MALAYSIAKINI

Today, Malaysians will pay their final respects to the late Malaysian icon Karpal Singh at the Dewan Sri Pinang in a state-honoured ceremony before his cortege leaves for Bukit Gantung where he will be cremated at 1pm.

Thousands, including family, friends, politicians from various parties and the public whose lives have been touched by Karpal in one way or another have thronged his house in Jalan Utama, Penang since his shocking death in the wee hours of the morning of April 17.

Karpal, who would have turned 74 in June, died in a tragic car crash along with his beloved helper J Michael Cornelius, 39, near Gopeng exit along the North-South Highhway.

The Bukit Gelugor MP who had an illustrious career in law and politics for 40 years, leaves behind his beloved wife Gurmit Kaur, five children, and ten grandchildren.

We bring you the live report of the funeral proceedings from Penang

PHOTO GALLERY | VIDEO

LIVE REPORT

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Former police chief recalls fond memories with Karpal

Old friends: Karpal with Zaman Khan during the 1981 incident.

Old friends: Karpal with Zaman Khan during the 1981 incident.

KUALA LUMPUR: One of the country’s former top cops was asked to kick the late Karpal Singh out of the Penang State Assembly after he was suspended in 1981. He ended up walking arm-in-arm with Karpal out of the building past a large number of policemen in riot gear. The policemen saluted the lawyer.

Tan Sri Zaman Khan, the then state police chief, remembers that day with fondness.

Karpal was suspended from attending the state assembly in December 1981 but decided to gatecrash it anyway.

“The Speaker, Datuk Hj Hassan Md Noh, sent me a letter asking me to evict Karpal from the assembly. I went with two Punjabi officers.
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“When we got there, the assemblymen were throwing paper airplanes at Karpal. And they were booing him,” recalled Zaman.

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Young Karpal was curious and had claws, says brother

By Opalyn Mok

 width=Baksis Singh, elder brother to the late Karpal Singh, said he was saddened by Karpal’s sudden untimely death but he accepted it as a way of life. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

GEORGE TOWN, April 19 — The “Tiger of Jelutong” who shook his adversaries in Parliament and court had been a “brilliant” child who had no qualms about showing his claws and fangs even to family.

Perhaps that was what made him such a formidable lawyer, Baksis Singh, elder brother to the late Karpal Singh, said today.

“He was brilliant and innovative as he would make his own toys and kites but he also had a rebellious streak,” the 80-year-old said.

They came from a large family of 10 siblings with Karpal as the fourth child. Baksis said Karpal used to question everything and do not take orders easily due to his rebellious streak.

“Maybe it is this rebellious nature that had made him into such a good lawyer and politician because he dared to speak up and stand strong on his principles,” he said.

The former radiographer at the Penang Hospital said he was saddened by Karpal’s sudden untimely death but he accepted it as a way of life. “Of the 10 of us – seven boys and three girls – one died when just a baby, and five of my younger siblings including Karpal have passed away over the years leaving me and a brother and two sisters,” he said.

Having worked in hospital where many deaths had occurred, Baksis said he was inured towards one’s mortality. Continue reading

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Samy Vellu cries for Karpal, hugs Guan Eng

As former works minister S Samy Vellu entered Karpal Singh’s home to pay his last respects today, he was met by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Even though the duo were from different political alliances, Samy Vellu (right) reached out and hugged Lim, as he expressed his condolences.

Samy’s face clearly showed his pain, as he later said, “We were in Parliament together.”

“Karpal always raised issues for the benefit of the people,” added the former MIC president.

“I could do nothing but cry when I learned about Karpal’s death,” he said.
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Michael Cornelius — Karpal’s loyal ‘other half’

Karpal Singh's family set up a donation box in memory of his aide Michael Cornelius at Karpal's wake at his home in Penang, April 18 2014. —Picture by K.E. Ooi

 

 

 

GEORGE TOWN, April 18 — Karpal Singh’s loyal aide Michael Cornelius Selvam Vellu, who also died in the accident that killed Karpal yesterday, was almost like Karpal’s “other half”.

The trained nurse from India first started working for Karpal back in 2005 after Karpal sustained injuries in an accident in front of his house that had left him wheelchair-bound.

“Michael never left Karpal’s side since then and was like Karpal’s “other half” even towards the end,” shared Karpal’s long-time aide and former driver Jeffrey Scully.

The 39-year-old was remembered by many who knew him as a jovial and cheerful man who loved to tell jokes.“What was most striking about Michael was his ever-ready wide grin,” Scully said. He said it was Michael’s mild temper and jovial character that made him the perfect match to take care of Karpal.

“Karpal has quite a temper and when he wants something done, it must be done immediately and Michael with his wide grin in reply to anything was the only one who could bear the wrath of his temper,” he said.

Michael had taken care of all of Karpal’s needs from pushing his wheelchair to handling his petty cash in all these years as Karpal’s personal aide and nurse.

“Michael was the one to hold his cash and handled all the payments for him whenever he goes outside and needed to pay for anything,” Scully said.

Michael came from Vellore, Tamil Nadu in southern India and his wife, a son and a daughter are living there.

Scully said it was obvious that Karpal loved Michael as part of his family.

“Michael was not just an aide or a nurse, he was family,” he said.

The depth of his loyalty to Karpal was so deep that it was said that he stayed with him even in death.

Karpal’s family also set up a donation box in memory of Michael at Karpal’s wake in his house here.

Michael’s body is expected to be flown back to India on Monday.

“Some family members will accompany Michael’s body to India for the burial,” Scully said. – Malay Mail Online

 

 

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

By Opalyn Mok

A patron at Ju Huat coffee shop reads the news about Karpal Singh’s death, — Pix by K.E. OoiA patron at Ju Huat coffee shop reads the news about Karpal Singh’s death, — Pix by K.E. Ooi

 

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.

He said he had once asked Karpal why he had chosen his coffee shop out of all the eateries in Air Itam.

“He told me that my coffee shop brought him luck and that every time he comes to my coffee shop, whatever he does will be smooth going,” he said.

Tan said he heard about Karpal’s accident at about 2am on that night itself.

“I didn’t believe it when I heard it at the wholesalers’ market in town,” Continue reading

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‘Tiger’ Karpal leaves behind his stripes and his name

Lokman Mustafa
Associate Editor

TRIBUTE: For the past few weeks, Malaysia has woken up to news of loss and bereavement. That 2014 is fast becoming a year of sadness and grief is probably an understatement.

On March 8, the MH370 crisis, one of epic proportion, unfolded before us. It stunned not only Malaysians but people around the globe as well.Yesterday morning, darks clouds descended upon our nation again as news of Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh’s tragic end reached Malaysians making their way to work.

While the nation mourns the loss of an influential figure and one of its loved sons, perhaps it’s only prudent to remind ourselves too that these stories revolve around families – something which we take for granted at times in our pursuit of other ventures in life.

At the end of it all, family members are not only our best friends but our blood and souls as well. When something tragic happened to a family member, it’s bound to affect us in more ways than one, at times even forever.

Karpal Singh was the son of a watchman and part-time herdsman. He studied at St Xavier’s Institution and met his wife, Gurmit Kaur, while herding his father’s cows.

She was eight and he was 16.

It was only after 10 years of friendship that Karpal mustered enough courage to ask for Gurmit’s hand in marriage.

With Gurmit’s parents’ approval, the couple were united in matrimony on 30 July 1970. It was the same year that Karpal started his legal firm and joined the DAP.

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