Memorial service for Karpal starts with a political message

In loving memory: Gobind and Gurmit viewing a collage of Karpal’s photos at Wadda Gurdwara Sahib in Penang.

KUALA LUMPUR - The national memorial service for Karpal Singh kick-started on a political note with the DAP pledging to perform better in the next general election.

Despite the last-minute change of venue, the memorial was attended by 3,000 people at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall yesterday.

DAP acting national chairman Tan Kok Wai said the fulfilment of the pledge would be a fitting tribute to Karpal's legacy.

"He (Karpal) was a towering Malaysian who has contributed immensely towards the country and his struggles should not go in vain," he said in his speech.

Tan said while the people remained in shock over his sudden death last week, the memorial and the overwhelming turnout gave everybody a reason to celebrate his extraordinary life.

Human rights lawyer and activist Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who fondly called the prominent lawyer as "Uncle Karpal", said he cherished his years with Karpal and his children.

"He was the coolest person to be around with," said Malik. "However, his greatest legacy though would be the law and case precedents, nearly 1,000 of them that he helped set, which continue to shape the legal system in the country."

Karpal's son Gobind Singh Deo, who fought back tears during his speech, said he had not been ready to lose his father so soon.

"My family and I will take time to come to terms with this loss. I would like to the thank the people for giving 'The Tiger' the great send-off that he deserved," he said.

The Puchong MP urged the people to continue the struggle and finish what his father had begun. "We must win the next general election," he added.

A minute's silence was held with national laureate A. Samad Said and political activist Hishamuddin Rais reciting a poem dedicated to Karpal.

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Bersih leader Ambiga Sreenevasan, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim attended the event.

At an Akhand Path prayer held at the Waada Gurdwara Sahib in Jalan Gurdwara, Penang, many people turned up to pray for Karpal.

The three-day, two-night non-stop prayer started at 7.30am yesterday. It ends at 11.45am tomorrow.