BUTTERWORTH, April 18 ― The late Karpal Singh had refused to accept payment from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when he took on the latter’s sodomy case back in 1998.The federal opposition leader told a rally here last night that his family had tried to pay Karpal repeatedly for his legal services but Karpal had refused.
“At that time, I was in jail, but my family tried to pay him and he refused to accept and they tried to pay him a few more times until he came to tell me to tell my family not to ‘disturb’ him anymore,” he said.
“He told me I was fighting for the nation so I should let him fight for my freedom and he won't accept payment for that,” he added.
Anwar’s last conversation that Anwar had with Karpal was on Wednesday evening before Karpal was killed in a car crash a few hours later.
Karpal, who was widely known as the Tiger of Jelutong, was killed on the spot when the vehicle he was travelling in collided with a lorry at the North-South Highway near Gua Tempurung at about 1.10am yesterday.
The 73-year-old was heading towar
ds Penang from Kuala Lumpur to attend a court hearing here.
Anwar said he believed that Karpal’s mind may have been dwelling on the submissions for his sodomy case ahead of the lawyer’s death.
“He told me that he has 10 days to prepare and submit the submissions for my appeal and that he will work on it for the next two days,” Anwar said.
In March, Malaysia’s Court of Appeal overturned a lower court’s decision to acquit Anwar on charges of sodomy and sentenced him to five years in jail. Anwar, has always maintained that the charges were trumped up to hurt his political career is looking to appeal the decision.
The Permatang Pauh MP told a crowd of about 1,000 people at the PKR Reformasi 2.0 rally here that Karpal had told him to carry on with his fight and leave the court case in his (Karpal’s) hands.
“He told me ‘You carry on. I will do my best to fight your case in court,’ when I called him back on Wednesday evening after seeing four missed calls from him,” the PKR leader said.
He also said when he paid his last respects to Karpal at his house yesterday, Karpal's widow, Gurmit Kaur, also told him that Karpal was worried about his sodomy appeal case.
Anwar said he had lost not only a lawyer but a great friend who was like a family member to him.
He expressed uncertainty over the outcome of his upcoming appeal against the five year jail sentence handed to him last month.
“This may even be my last chance to speak to all of you before I'm sent back to prison,” he said.
He added that he does not fear being put back into prison but that he wants his constituents to continue to support PKR no matter what happens.
“We must always remember, the fight will always go on and we must not let Barisan Nasional wrest this seat away from Pakatan Rakyat if I was sent back to prison,” he said.
Earlier, a moment of silence was held in remembrance of Karpal.
Some of the speakers expressed their sadness over the passing of a great leader before continuing with the talking points about Anwar's sodomy trial.
“He was the lawyer of lawyers and he was the only MP who dared to tell the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to get out. In normal cases, it was the Speaker who tells MPs to get out but with Karpal, it was the other way around,” PAS deputy president Mohamed Sabu said.
He spoke of Karpal’s courage in speaking up against injustice no matter where or when and reminded the crowd that Karpal had taken on many cases all for the sake of seeking justice for the people.
Karpal’s funeral will be held on Sunday.