GEORGE TOWN - Technician R. Rajamony was the first person in the line when the doors were opened at Dewan Sri Pinang at 8.45am.
"It's my final chance to see him and I do not want to miss it," said Rajamony, who had taken the midnight bus from Klang Valley with two friends so that they could attend Karpal Singh's funeral.
Then they hopped onto a taxi and headed to Dewan Sri Pinang, reaching the place at 5am yesterday.
"I used to go to the Kuala Lumpur courts frequently whenever Karpal was there, just to see him in action," said Rajamony, 53.
Less than five minutes after the public was allowed into the hall, a woman on a walking stick broke down while calling out Karpal's name.
She had to be calmed down and was escorted out by volunteers.
When met later, the woman, Chew Leng Eow, 73, said she used to work as a contract cleaner at Karpal's law firm in Beach Street before it moved to Green Hall.
"Karpal was very nice to us. He would treat us coffee every now and then.
"I'm heartbroken that he died in such a tragic way," she said.
Also spotted among the crowd was Malaysian Idol winner Jaclyn Victor who came with her mother Maggie, 57, from Kuala Lumpur.
"It's a funeral. It has nothing to do with our background. Today it is about Karpal," said Jaclyn.
"I'm blown away as I've never seen or attended such a big funeral. This shows Karpal's charisma."
Associate professor of political science at the Singapore Management University, Bridget Welsh, who came all the way from Singapore, said Karpal was one of the first few politicians she interviewed when she was doing her PhD in the 1990s.
"He told me he joined politics because he loved Malaysia.
"He was committed in speaking out on major issues that affected the masses. He stood up for ordinary people."