PETALING JAYA - Old rivalries and animosities were cast aside and replaced with tributes from political veterans who had previously clashed with the "Tiger of Jelutong".
Former MIC secretary-general and deputy speaker D.P. Vijandran, who Karpal Singh had accused of being the actor in pornographic tapes in 1989, was magnanimous.
"Karpal's death is untimely. He was a very strong voice for the non-Muslims of the country. He declared hudud could only be implemented in the country over his dead body.
"His death does not mean that hudud will be implemented as his spirit will inspire others to fight for the cause," said the lawyer.
Calling Karpal an improbable politician, retired judge Datuk K.C. Vohrah said he had appeared before him in courts.
"He lost some and he won some, but in all, he was always gracious in court before all judges - even when he lost his cases," he said, adding that Karpal fought his cases tooth and nail in court.
"But he was courteous - quite unlike what one would read of him when he was in Parliament or as a politician."
He added that judges were quite glad to see Karpal conduct a trial or argue an appeal as he would not mislead on law and was always to the point.
Former Solicitor-General II Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden said that although he had heated arguments with Karpal in court, "we were cordial outside, knowing what was said was work and nothing personal".
"He had a hard exterior but a soft interior and was a very kind person," he added.
Former DPP Shamsul Sulaiman, now a lawyer, said: "We appeared on opposite sides of the Bar and still referred to each other as learned friend. When I met him after retiring from service, he was one of the few who expressed confidence that I would continue to be useful in the service of justice."
Bar Council president Christopher Leong described Karpal as "a towering Malaysian and a great courageous man".
"He was that special and rare breed of man who commanded respect for his leadership and courage in the values and causes he stood and fought for. Malaysia needed Karpal and continues to need more people like him," he said.
Former Malaysian Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said: "As a lawyer, Karpal was polite, courteous, persuasive and clear in his submissions. He was well prepared, fearless and ethical. As a politician, the Bukit Gelugor MP was firm in his principles."
Constitutional lawyer Syahredzan Johan said: "Damailah di sana, Harimau Jelutong. Terima kasih atas segala baktimu demi negara." (Be at peace, Tiger of Jelutong. Thank you for your contribution to the country.)
Industrial court chairman Datuk Ahmad Rosli Mohd Sham said Karpal was truly of the old breed, an honest hard-working man.
"When he argued a case he went straight to the point. But he was creative in his arguments, always looking for new grounds and, in the process, helping to create new law," said Ahmad Rosli, a former prosecutor.
Criminal lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad, who occasionally worked alongside Karpal, said: "We, members of the Malaysian Bar, will continue the good fight for justice which you had fought for during your lifetime. Rest well, Mr Karpal Singh, the Tiger of Jelutong."