Friday, April 18, 2014

Kit Siang drapes comrade’s casket with DAP flag

Kit Siang drapes comrade’s casket with DAP flag

BY LOOI SUE-CHERN
April 18, 2014
Malaysian Insider
An undated photograph of the 'brothers-in-arm' Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 18, 2014.An undated photograph of the 'brothers-in-arm' Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 18, 2014.It was a sombre, moving scene at the home of Karpal Singh this afternoon as veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang draped the party flag over the casket of  his “brother-in-arms” in honour of the former chairman’s 44-year crusade for the opposition party.
Kit Siang, who brought along an old record book of the party, said that Karpal joined DAP during the "darkest hours" of the nation and the party on December 28, 1970.

It was more than a year after the May 13, 1969 racial riots and Kit Siang had just been released after a 17-month detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) following the riots.

"There were very few who came out to the forefront to lead the party at the time, but Karpal came. He had no hesitation to come forward to carry that banner," he said of the man he called his 'brother-in-arms".

Kit Siang said the 1970s was also a time when DAP faced many legal cases, with its leaders charged with breaching laws like the ISA, Official Secrets Act and the Police Act.

Karpal was one of the leading lawyers defending the DAP leaders on the various charges.

"When I was charged with the OSA in 1978, Karpal defended me," he said, referring to the time he got into trouble for exposing the scandal involving the Malaysian Royal Navy’s purchase of RM9 million SPICA-M weapons from Sweden.

"Karpal remains an inspiration to Malaysians in the struggle for justice, democracy and upholding the rule of law. Malaysians must now carry the torch he has passed on.”

Among a steady stream of mourners who visited the house to pay their respects to Karpal was former Bar Council chairman Datuk Param Cumaraswamy, who said the nation and legal profession had lost a patriot.

He described Karpal as a real gentleman who was highly principled, and a person who never turned anyone away if they sought his help to defend their rights.

"I spoke to him about politics and the law and between the two, his first love was the law. Politics was secondary to him... so much was his love for the law," he said today.

Karpal, Param said, had the respect of the judiciary, earning no complaints but high standing before the courts.

"Karpal was so entrenched in the finer qualities of the Bar and in the 1980s, senior judges highly commended his conduct in the courts.

"He stood for the highest qualities. Judges were also respectful of him. We’ve really lost someone who is very hard to replace, a leading light in the legal and political arenas.

"However, I see his four children in court. I think they will carry on the torch he has left behind," he said, referring to Karpal’s sons – Jagdeep Singh Deo, Gobind Singh Deo, and Ramkarpal Singh, and daughter Sangeet Kaur, who are also lawyers.

Karpal, 73, was killed in a car accident about 1am yesterday on the North-South Expressway near Kampar, Perak when his Toyota Alphard multi-purpose vehicle collided with a lorry.

His long-time aide Michael Cornelius Selvam Vellu also died in the crash while Ramkarpal and the driver escaped with minor injuries.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng will present the Penang flag to the family tomorrow.
On Sunday, the funeral procession will stop at important landmarks of Karpal’s life and illustrious legal career.

Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow, who is overseeing the funeral arrangements, said the casket was scheduled to leave Karpal's home in Jalan Utama at 8.15am on Sunday for the public ceremony at Dewan Sri Pinang at 9am.

"The public can pay their respects until 10am. Then, the ceremony will be opened to state dignitaries like the governor, political parties, and non-governmental organisations before ending by 11am with a religious ceremony for Karpal's family.

"The casket will then stop at the Lebuh Light-Jalan Greenhall junction in front of the Penang High Court. Karpal's firm is on Jalan Greenhall," he said.

The casket will also stop at the state legislative assembly building, where Karpal began his early political career. He won the Bukit Gelugor state seat in the 1978 general election when the seat was under the Jelutong parliamentary constituency, which he also won.

Then, the procession will proceed to St Xavier's Institution, which was his alma mater, to which he had made many contributions in recent years, Chow said.

"The school band will accompany the procession as we leave for the Batu Gantung crematorium for the final ritual," he said.

Karpal's eldest son Jagdeep, who is a state executive council member, thanked the state government for according his father state honours.

"It would have made him very proud to be regarded a son of Penang and for his sacrifices to be recognised. He had never asked for such acknowledgements.

"Our family will also not forget the kind wishes from the thousands of people who have offered their sympathies. Please continue to remember us in your prayers and we hope to see all of you on Sunday," he said. – April 18, 2014.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Putrajaya’s silence on poor handling of MH370 search a show of self-denial, says DAP


Putrajaya's refusal to answer questions on Malaysia’s poor handling of the initial stages of flight MH370's disappearance is a reflection of self-denial on its part, said a veteran DAP lawmaker today.
Party adviser Lim Kit Siang said the statement by acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that authorities wanting to “move forward” were an example of a serious denial syndrome.
"Hishammuddin has clearly refused to answer questions whether Malaysia had mishandled the initial stages of MH370's disappearance," Lim (pic, top right) said in a statement today.
He said Hishammuddin should realise that priority can no longer be placed solely on finding the aircraft, and had to be expanded to finding answers.
"There are 1,001 questions being asked about the handling of the disaster, in particular what happened in the initial hours of MH370's disappearance."
Lim said it was facetious and fallacious for Hishammuddin to berate critics for “looking so far back at a time when we are already looking forward”.
"It is impossible to look forward without a proper understanding of what happened 40 days ago in the initial hours of the tragedy on March 8," Lim said.
He insisted it was not an issue of pointing fingers for the crisis, but giving closure to the families and loved ones of those aboard MH370.
"There cannot be a full closure without a full, independent probe into what happened in the initial hours and days of the MH370 disaster," Lim said.
On March 8, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 departed from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers.
The Boeing 777-200 dropped off the radar at 1.20am and there has been no trace of the aircraft ever since.
"Putrajaya's self-denial in the MH370 crisis is the biggest stumbling block to restoring local and global confidence in Malaysia's good governance," Lim said.
Lim also cited a recent Malaysiakini interview with former Sabah police chief Datuk Ramli Yusuff, who questioned the establishment of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).
Ramli, who was the Sabah police chief from 2002 to 2004, described Esscom as “ridiculous” because of the duplication of the chain of command.
"This is serious food for thought and should provide the basis for an immediate decision by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his cabinet," Lim said.
Ramli told Malaysiakini that based on his experience as the former Sabah police chief, Esscom should be headed by the state police chief.
"This is to avoid duplication of the chain of command and to ensure a better grip on security operational matters," Ramli told Malaysiakini.
"Esscom should be headed by either the police or the armed forces, although I prefer the police because this is an internal security matter."
He also told Malaysiakini that current Esscom director-general Datuk Muhammad Mentek was not suitable to lead because he was previously from the Immigration Department.
"Muhammad does not know operational matters," Ramli claimed, adding that priority should be given to intelligence gathering.
"When I was the Sabah police chief, there were no incursions or kidnappings because coordination was tight among all enforcement agencies, including the army.
"As police chief, I would advise the chief minister on security issues and coordinate everything with the navy, air force, army, volunteer corps (Rela), and Immigration and Customs departments.
"The army and police shared their assets throughout Sabah, and compared notes on intelligence, which is the most crucial aspect of security operations."
Special attention was also given to tourist areas where more personnel were deployed at outposts and for patrols.
"It does not matter (how long the border is). If it happens in your district you have to know as ground intelligence should be water tight in 'red zones'."
"Based on my experience, there are no way such kidnappings and incursions can take place because the state and security personnel have already identified these 'red zones'."
Lim said Putrajaya's denial syndrome on the Esscom issue was its refusal to end the overlapping and duplication of command in Sabah.