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The Tiger Of Jelutong’s Roar continues to Echo: A Tribute to Karpal Singh


By : Tuan Preakas Sampunathan, ADUN Kota Kemuning (N50)

KOTA KEMUNING, SELANGOR 16 April 2024 – It has been 10 years since the passing of the late Karpal Singh
(I would refer to him as Boss). The media and the public know him famously as the “Tiger of Jelutong”. Many
in the legal field know him as the defender of the defenceless, and the voice of the voiceless. Many remember
him as one of the key builders of the DAP. For me, I remember him as my greatest mentor, both in law, and
in politics.

At the start of my legal career, I was working in YB Gobind’s law firm. It is through that relationship with YB
Gobind where I got opportunities to work on cases with boss. I served as his junior counsel numerous times,
and I got to witness him arguing in the apex courts of Malaysia. You should have seen him. Every point made,
every question asked, never have I seen a more eloquent lawyer, whose love of the law and justice is the
defining aspect of their career. Not to mention, he was willing to teach a new lawyer like me the tricks of the
trade, and instilling in me the sense of what is right, and what is wrong. Never would he tire from ensuring
those who came to him received guidance, and a strong moral compass. I carry on those lessons even now
as I am the partner of my own law firm and as ADUN for Kota Kemuning.

As I continued to follow him around, I was deeply inspired by his strive for justice. Boss never hesitated to
stand up for the little guy, especially when the person on the docket was a victim of misjustice. Have a look
at our Prime Minister today. During his first stint in court in 1998, boss took his case and refused payment
simply because he believed that Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim was a victim of misjustice. That demonstrates who
boss is – A man dedicated to justice, even when he must take on Goliath.

Despite all of that, he still had the highest respect for the courts of law. Once I was assisting him on a case
in the Court of Appeal. I was not wearing my robes when the judges walked in. In a hurry, I tried to put them
on quickly. He stopped me and told me to go outside the courtroom to do so, saying: “The court is not your
changing room.” That shows that he respected the institutions in place while advocating for change.

That spirit of standing up for the little guy can also be seen in the political arena. As an elected representative,
boss would never hesitate to say what is right, regardless of what opponents would say or do. In Parliament,
the Tiger of Jelutong would fearlessly roar to let the rest of the jungle know, we must do right by the people
through repealing horrible laws and passing good ones. Even when he was arrested during Ops Lalang, the
moment he was released, he immediately continued the fight for what is right without fear. That demonstrates
his commitment to justice for the little guy.

Even though he is described as a tiger, do not be fooled, he was always a friendly and humble man. I once
attended a Bersih rally with him, and as he was making his way across the venue, he was mobbed by a huge
crowd of supporters who wanted to take photos with him. He would always smile and indulge in their requests.
He would enjoy meeting the people that he aims to help. If you came to him, he would welcome you with
open arms, ask you what the issue was, and work hard to help you. He was truly a man of the people.

Exactly 10 years after his passing, look at the country today. The party he helped build is now in a government
literally called a “unity government”. Day after day, the unity government is working to serve all people
regardless of race, or religion. Parliament, the Government, and the courts are working to ensure justice for
the little guy. Can you hear it? The Tiger of Jelutong’s roar continues to echo.

It is now up to us, the new generation to carry on Karpalism. All the principles which he has stood for, we
must make it a reality. Why? The reason is simple, because Malaysia is built by Malaysians, and it is only
right for us to stand by them.

Missing you boss, I hope that as you look down from heaven, you can see that you are remembered through
the principles you have stood for. And that you continue to live on in the Malaysia that you have devoted your
life to help building.

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