GEORGE TOWN: Thousands of people converged at the Dewan Sri Pinang in Light Street here to pay their last respects to former DAP national chairman Karpal Singh who died on Thursday.
Mourners also lined the streets to catch a glimpse of Karpal’s cortege leaving the building to the Batu Gantong crematorium.
The cortege arrived at Dewan Sri Pinang at 8.15am yesterday while the public made their way into the building to pay their last respects to Karpal, in what is believed to be the biggest funeral in Penang so far.
By 8.30am, security personnel had to close the gates to prevent more people from entering.
Due to the large turnout, the public were allowed an extension of 45 minutes to pay their respects.
Outside the building, continuous chanting of “Karpal Singh! Karpal Singh!” could be heard before the grand funeral procession took place. It had to stop several times because crowds of people had overflowed into the procession route.
Supporters also turned up with posters and banners, and were heard cheering as Karpal’s hearse made its way through several roads here on the way to the crematorium.
Some 200 superbikers and more than 1,000 cyclists and other vehicles escorted Karpal’s hearse on his final journey as they honked and chanted Karpal’s name.
The procession stopped at several places closely associated with Karpal, such as the Penang High Court, his office in Green Hall, the Penang state legislative assembly building, his alma mater St Xavier’s Institution (SXI) and the state DAP headquarters in Rangoon Road before arriving at the crematorium.
The SXI marching band also led the funeral procession, followed by SXI scouts and DAP members holding their party’s flags.
Earlier, DAP and Pakatan Rakyat leaders and representatives of various associations and guilds here also paid their last respects to Karpal.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in his eulogy at the Dewan Sri Pinang, said the state government mourned Karpal’s untimely and unexpected passing.
“For 40 years, Karpal had dedicated his life to the legal profession, fighting for justice, upholding our constitutional rights of freedom and human rights,” he said.
“With his life suddenly cut short at the age of 74, Penang has lost an upstanding and outstanding leader and lawyer. The rakyat has lost a fearless ‘tiger’ with an indomitable spirit who stood up for the poor, weak, defenceless and dispossessed,” Lim added.
The chanting of “Karpal Singh!” and “Tiger!” continued as the casket was brought into the crematorium at 1.35pm.
Among those who came to pay their last respects to Karpal were Penang Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, former DAP chairman Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu.
Karpal’s family said they will collect his ashes from the crematorium today and will release it into the sea.
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