PERAK may not be the base for the late Karpal Singh whose brilliant career had spanned over four decades.
But his untimely and unexpected death in a horrific car accident in the silver state in the early hours of April 17, slightly over a month after he was convicted and sentenced for sedition had sent shock waves across the country.
While his appeal on the sedition case was still pending at the time of his death, the Bukit Gelugor MP who was fined RM4,000 would lose his seat and be disqualified from contesting in the next general election.
Under the Federal Constitution, an MP will be disqualified upon conviction and a fine of RM2,000 and above.
He or she will also be disqualified from contesting in the general election for the next five years.
It was certainly mental anguish the outspoken and righteous 74-year-old lawyer and politician had to undergo during his final days.
Thus, his memorial in Ipoh last Friday was especially poignant.
Some 2,000 people packed the city centre’s Kinta Riverfront Hotel’s ballroom to pay tribute to him.
The sombre mood was compounded by the fact that the accident happened merely 20km from the venue of the memorial.
Karpal and his long time aide, Michael Cornelius, were killed on the spot when the Toyoto Alphard they were travelling in crashed with a lorry laden with construction materials at Km301.6 of the North-South Expressway near the Gopeng exit slightly past 1am.
They were on their way to Penang from Kuala Lumpur, and his son Ramkarpal, driver and maid who were with them escaped death.
Some of people at the memorial were in tears, especially when they met Gobind Singh, 42, Karpal’s second son who bore a resemblance to Karpal in his younger days.
“Let us not remember how he died but how he had lived,” said Gobind, also the Puchong MP.
He said his father had dedicated over four decades of his life for a good fight.
“He was always there for the people; to uphold justice and fight for equality.
“He was driven by his wish for a better Malaysia,” said Gobind who appeared calm.
He said the outpouring of grief from Malaysians of all walks of life was testimony to what his late father meant to the people.
Tens of thousands of people attended Karpal’s funeral in Penang on April 20.
The Penang state government had accorded him a funeral with state honours.
Gobind also noted that a good fight was important to Karpal and not titles.
“If we keep quiet, evil will triumph,” he added.
Meanwhile Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran, 57, recalled his relationship with the late Karpal, dating back to 1987.
“He taught me a lot on politics.
“He said he would always be there for me whenever I call him,” said Kulasegaran, also a lawyer.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, 73, said he had lost a good comrade, recalling how he fought alongside Karpal against Barisan Nasional.
He said they became closer when both were detained in Kamunting under the Internal Security Act.
Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming said the late Karpal might be seen to be involved in controversy but he was fighting for a good cause — for the people and justice.
“We will continue his unfinished battles,” said the 42-year-old lawyer who is also Perak DAP chairman.
The memorial also had performances in memory of the late Karpal, and there was a minute of silence when pictures of the iconic lawyer and politician were screened.