GEORGE TOWN, Apr 19: Former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik has described the late Karpal Singh as a playful student who always failed in the exam.
Dr Ling, who is Karpal’s hostel-mate in the early 1960s, said both of them studied at the then University of Malaya in Singapore.
“We were staying at the same hostel in Dunearn Road in Singapore, and I remember him as the cheeky student who always failed his exam.
“When I was the student union president, Karpal was still in his first semester as the committee member,” he told reporters before paying his last respect to Karpal at his wake on Friday in George Town.
He said at one time, Karpal finally made it a point to pass all his examinations in order to graduate and become a good lawyer.
When asked to describe his friendship with Karpal, Dr Ling said both of them were in the “silently close relationship” as they were active in different political parties.
“Have you ever heard Karpal scolding Liong Sik or have you heard I scold Karpal? No, we never scold each other despite our political differences. I only scolded DAP and he only scolded MCA.
“I will miss Karpal and the country will miss him too,” said the former Transport Minister while holding back tears.
Meanwhile, former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said during his time in Parliament, Karpal always raised questions for the benefit of the people.
“I was in Parliament with him for many years and every time he raised a question, it was for the benefit of the people.
“Whatever questions he asked, I would give him very satisfactory answers. I would provide him with more information if he needed further clarification.
“His demise is a great loss to the country and I am very sad today because we have lost a very good friend,” he said.
Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said he first met Karpal in the Parliament in 1986.
“We might have had different opinions during our debates in Parliament, but when outside, we were friends and I think his demise is a great loss to the country,” he said.
Gerakan Deputy President Datuk Dr Cheah Soon Hai said Karpal’s political career outshined most of the politicians of his time.
“Karpal will leave his legacy behind for all Malaysians, especially in politics and among legal practitioners,” he said.
Other Cabinet ministers and party leaders who pay their last respect to Karpal at his residence at Jalan Utama Friday were Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri, MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang, newly appointed Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow, Penang opposition leader Datuk Jahara Hamid, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and PKR Deputy President Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Karpal Singh died in a road accident at Km306.1 of the North-South Expressway near Gua Tempurung in Kampar at 1.10 am yesterday. He was 74.
Also killed in the MPV-lorry accident was Karpal Singh’s personal assistant Michael Cornelius, who was in his 40s. -BERNAMA