GEORGE TOWN, April 20 — The streets of Penang’s historical city centre roared with the voices of thousands calling out the name of their state’s beloved son — Karpal Singh. Elbows jostled with shoulders as admirers of the late lawyer and lawmaker surged through a sea of bodies for a final glimpse of their hero as his casket was loaded onto a hearse for the state funeral procession around the streets of George Town, where Karpal had studied, set up his legal practice, fought epic courtroom battles and debated the law. Emotions ran high as the huge crowd, which had gathered in front of Dewan Sri Pinang as early as 7am, shouted in unison “Karpal Singh! Karpal Singh! Karpal Singh!” Banners and posters bearing the deceased Bukit Gelugor MP’s familiar face were placed all over the entrance of the building; tents were erected to allow visitors a place to rest and to shelter from the sweltering heat. Inside the town hall, family members recited last prayer rites for Karpal.
Outside the chanting tumult swelled to a roar. Earlier, three separate official tributes were given to the former DAP national chairman — one by the Penang state government, one by his party and one more by Pakatan Rakyat leaders led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. DAP leaders, young and old wore their trademark white shirt and black pants, and watched silently as Karpal’s casket was shut for the last time. The funeral cortège has left the building and will pass and stop briefly at the Penang High Court, his legal firm in Green Hall, the Penang state legislative assembly and alma mater St Xavier’s Institution. It will then proceed to the Bukit Gantung crematorium for the final rites.
Thousands of people gathered at the Dewan Sri Pinang here Sunday to pay their last respects to the late Karpal Singh who died in a road accident last Thursday. The hall was filled with an air of sadness as more than 10,000 people from all walks of life arrived as early as 8 am to pay their last respects to the man known as the ‘Tiger of Jelutong’. The paying of last respects began with members of the public doing so from 9 am, followed by state leaders, the DAP Central Executive Committee, representatives of political parties, professional groups and religious associations. Penang Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas and his wife Toh Puan Majimor Shariff also paid their last respects. They were accompanied by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, state executive councillors and DAP leaders. Sikh religious rites were performed by family members at the Dewan Sri Pinang before Karpal Singh’s remains were placed in a casket wrapped in a piece of cloth depicting a tiger, and carried by his children and close relatives out of the hall.
The funeral procession began at about 11.30 am and the hearse bearing the remains of Karpal Singh proceeded to the Batu Gantung Crematorium, making three “significant stops” for photography sessions. These stops were at the Penang High Court complex, where Karpal Singh had practised as a lawyer; the Penang State Legislative Assembly building where he began his political career and the St Xavier’s Institution, his alma mater. The funeral of the late Bukit Gelugor MP was accorded state honours, with the Penang government ordering the state flag to be flown at half-mast from the day of his death to the end of the funeral today. Relatives, friends, acquaintances and members of the public had gathered at Karpal Singh’s residence at 144A, Jalan Utama here as early as 6 am. A private Sikh religious ceremony was held by family members at about 7 am before Karpal Singh’s remains were taken to the Dewan Sri Pinang. Karpal Singh died in an accident at about 1.10 am at Km306.1 of the North-South Expressway near Gua Tempurung, in Kampar, Perak. His personal assistant, Michael Cornelius, was also killed.
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