This Tiger’s still roaring
Stories by MARTIN VENGADESAN
He’s reached an age when most people would have happily retired and gone to pasture. But not Karpal Singh, aka the Tiger of Jelutong. StarMag catches up with one of the country’s most colourful, controversial – and much admired – politicians.
ALMOST unnoticed, a Malaysian institution turned 70 recently. It wasn’t a building or an organisation, but an individual.
For better or worse, Democratic Action Party (DAP) national chairman Karpal Singh has been a part of public consciousness for nearly four decades now. Despite being seriously injured in a car accident in 2005 that left him with nerve damage and wheelchair-bound, he has continued with his life-long struggle for justice and equality in Malaysia. Now, in his twilight years, he shows no signs of slowing down.
When we met at his law office off Jalan Pudu in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, Karpal had just been discharged from hospital after suffering from pneumonia. He is weak and a little frail but manages to answer questions and dispense anecdotes with great gusto.
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YB Karpal Singh who celebrated his 70th birthday on 28th June 2010 last month, is one the few Malaysian who I have come to admire and respect as both a Opposition Parliamentrian and Law Practitioner. He has had a very rich colourful life both in politics and law one which would not be emulated by any other politician on both sides of the divide both in the present and for a long time in the future. He could have done more law where he would contribute much more had he done it full time. This fearless Malaysian, has been thrown out of Parliament for so many times I lost count, his consistent stand for a secular Malaysia against PAS's ideology despite being in the same Pakatan Boat is direct to the point and who could forget that fateful day when he told Anwar Ibrahim to bertaubat. Its a measure of his reputation that nobody dared to rebut him about Anwar.
I hope YB Karpal will find time to write his memoirs, as his life and times would be a good source of inspiration for the young.
Its a pity, well for me anyway, that he opted to join the DAP when he decided to go into politics. As fate would have it, Karpal being the National Chairman of the DAP is the only person now that is standing between the DAP as a so called "multiracial party" and the perception of a DAP which is almost totally dominated by one race both in outlook and political struggle. He will be such a huge loss to the DAP once he decides to retire from politics.
At 70 and with such a heavy work schedule shuttling between Parliament and the Courts that would be very taxing by any measure of standard for any man. While I am no supporter of the DAP but I wish YB Karpal Singh the best of health in his endeavors and yes, a very happy belated Birthday.