|Friday, April 28, 2017

Karpal Singh, dearly missed but never forgotten 

By Kasthuri Patto

A sharing on Mr Karpal’s last parliament sitting on the 10th of April on the supremacy of the Federal Constitution on the 3rd anniversary of his untimely passing on April 17 2014.

Forever, dearly missed but never forgotten.

Media statement by Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan and Publicity Secretary for Wanita DAP Kasthuri Patto on Sunday 16 April 2017 in Ipoh, Perak.

Three years on and Mr Karpal Singh’s words still roar, reminding Malaysians alike, of the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and not even the Prime Minister nor his Barisan Nasional government is above it.

On the 10th of April 2014, Opposition Members of Parliament in the Dewan Rakyat led a walkout in protest against the verdict of the Speaker of the House, in an unshakable decision, a ruling that a substantive motion supported by 63 members of the house on the conduct or rather, the misconduct of judges in the country referring to the 3 Court of Appeal judges Datuk Aziah Ali, Datuk Balia Yusuf Wali and Datuk Zawawi Salleh in relation to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy charge, by Member of Parliament for Gombak be shoved down to number 21 of the order paper and would not see the light of day to be debated in the house.

Needless to say, the huge outcry against the Speaker for not exercising his powers in the Dewan Rakyat to allow for such a motion to be debated finally led to both MP for Gombak Admin Ali as well as MP for Sepang Hanipa Maidin to be ejected from the Dewan Rakyat just before lunch.

It was also on that fateful Thursday that the late Mr Karpal Singh made a powerful, compelling remark that would be forever etched in the stones of the August House and in the hearts and minds Parliamentarians and Malaysians alike, not to fool around with the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land.

Mr Karpal’s last words, “Tuan Speaker, jangan main-main dengan Perlembagaan” roared thunderous in his last Parliamentary debate fiercely challenging the authority of the Speaker to always place the Federal Constitution above the Standing Orders used in the Dewan Rakyat.

Mr Karpal, very calmly but sternly cautioned the Speaker that the substantive motion under Standing Orders 36(8) by MP Gombak, be read in harmony with Article 127 of the Federal Constitution on the restriction on Parliamentary discussion of conduct of judges which reads

“the conduct of a judge of the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal or a high Court shall not be discussed in either house of parliament except on a substantive motion of which notice has been given by not less than one quarter of the total number of members of that house, and shall not be discussed in the Legislative Assembly of any State”.

Where else should the conduct (or misconduct) of judges be debated if not in the August House by elected representatives, and yet the Speaker used his discretion to shelve it.

I sat next to Mr Karpal, 3 years ago, looking in awe, admiration and reverence at this towering figure next to me and his relentless struggle to fight for what is right, his indomitable spirit to be the defender of the defenceless and never compromising on his principle to speak without fear or favour for justice, fairness and honour.

His words in his last Parliamentary sitting is a timely and sound reminder to us Malaysians, that NO PERSON is above the Federal Constitution, which is the cardinal, towering, unparallel law of the land – a well-timed reminder to the judiciary, the Prime Minister and his Barisan Nasional government.

We remember you today, Mr Karpal Singh not for leaving a huge emptiness and void in our hearts because we miss you dearly, but for leaving a legacy for us all to carry on and carry forth so that the spirit of the Tiger of Jelutong along with the spirit of constitutionality, not just lives on but ignites a fire, a determination to form a new government in Putrajaya.

*Kasthuri Patto is DAP’s MP for Batu Kawan and DAP Wanita publicity secretary.

*The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Times (TMT).