Karpal's death may change political landscape, say analysts

Karpal's death may change political landscape, say analysts

PETALING JAYA - The nation's political landscape will see a change following the death of former DAP chairman Karpal Singh which has left an enormous hole in the opposition pact, say political analysts.

Head of Cluster for Politics, Security and International Affairs National Council of Professors, Prof Datuk Mustafa Ishak said Karpal's bluntness and outspokenness could not be matched by any leaders in the party.

"Karpal has survived in his political career for a very long time and he was at the forefront in the political arena. He has been around since the time of Tun Abdul Razak (the second Prime Minister)."

"He was known as someone who was blunt in his views, someone who called a spade a spade," Mustafa told The Star Online.

He said the most notable character of the 74-year-old Bukit Gelugor MP was his strong principles on various matters, including the implementation of hudud laws.

"No other politician has made such a strong statement against the implementation of hudud like Karpal," he said.

As for Assoc Prof Shaharuddin Badaruddin, he described Karpal as a "true democrat" who had contributed in creating a check and balance in politics.

This, he said, was despite his strong criticism against hudud law, a notion proposed by his counterparts in PAS.

"Those who know him know that he actually upholds the Federal Constitution. His criticism on hudud did not mean he was against Islam, but meant that it would not be workable in this context," he said when contacted.

However, Shahruddin believed that Karpal's loss would not be the Opposition's, but that of their political rivals, Umno.

"When PAS proposed hudud law, Karpal would react, and right now who wants to react? Umno has lost a punching bag," he said.

Karpal and his long-time assistant Michael Cornelius, were killed when the car they were travelling in collided with a five-tonne lorry near Gua Tempurung, early Thursday morning as they headed to Penang to appear in a court case.

His death will result in a by-election in the Bukit Gelugor parliamentary seat, the fifth by-election after the 13th General Election.

However, both Shaharuddin and Mustafa believe that DAP will retain the seat as Bukit Gelugor is a party stronghold.

"He had a strong influence there and voters would like to remember him by continued support for the Opposition," said Mustafa.

Karpal won the seat with a 41,778- vote majority in GE13, defeating Barisan Nasional candidate, Teh Beng Yeam.

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