Despite hating UMNO to the core, he has no reservation to take up controversial cases involving UMNO members.
How could a lawyer claim to fight for justice when what he is pursuing is to be in the limelight of controversy?
I will never forget in early familiarity with Karpal as MP. He is legendary for raising ruckus in Parliament to get thrown out and suspended. During the suspension period, he has scheduled "high valued" court cases to fill his time. Suspiciously convenient.
This tiger has not lost his stripe. This letter found on RockyBru2's posting, "Karpal the Contemptible?" caught my attention.
By Dr Adam Mahmood NazrinKnown to many old timers in Kedah and Penang, they will never forget the early incident that spark his interest into politics. The words he uttered with much contempt for the traditional sovereign and people of the land then remains. His recent remarks towards the Crown Prince of Kelantan is a fine reminder.
When Tun Dr Mahathir described Karpal Singh as a contemptible politician, it has to be given a lot of thoughts because such strong words coming from a statesman is surely not something which came from a frivolous mind intended to trivialise an important issue.
There are several issues which Karpal has raised which occurred during Dr Mahathir’s tenure and they include the sacking of Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and the Internal Security Act (ISA) swoop in 1988 codenamed Ops Lallang.
To my mind, whether Dr Mahathir is wrong in either or both the incidents, they were matters which Karpal should have brought up during the time Dr Mahathir was still in office. After all Karpal, during that Dr Mahathir’s premiership, was at one time or another, a Member of Parliament and was a known critic of the then Barisan Nasional Government.
His criticisms of the BN Government during Dr Mahathir’s era was wide-ranging but more of interest in our attempt to understand why the former Prime Minister should resort to describing Karpal as contemptible and the reason why Karpal is hell-bent in attacking Dr Mahathir despite the latter’s long departure from office.
Karpal as a politician should be contemptible not only to Dr Mahathir but to the rest of the Malaysian society who have some degree of moral belief and sense of fair play.
Karpal has managed to hide his racist and opportunistic political approach by riding on his so-called courage of being vocal and not mincing his words in criticising the BN Government.
A good example is his expose of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sexual transgressions sometime during the first quarter of 1998 at a DAP convention held in Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
At that time, Ummi Hafilda Ali and Azizan Abu Bakar, the two main witnesses in the Anwar’s sodomy trial, had given their sworn affidavits of Anwar’s sexual misdemeanour.
Karpal had stood before the DAP audience and said to the effect hat he had proof of the Deputy Prime Minister’s sexual misdeeds and challenged the Prime Minister (Dr Mahathir) to take action against his deputy.
It may sound unbelievable but I’m sure some DAP leaders or those who had since left the party would be more than prepared to come forward to verify this.
This revelation was made some five months before accusations of Anwar being a sodomite was made public or taken up by Dr Mahathir himself.
However, when Anwar was finally charged in court for sodomy based on the affidavits of Ummi Hafilda and Azizan, what did Karpal do?
He came forward to offer himself as one of Anwar’s defence lawyer. Of course it can be argued that in any system of justice, a person who is accused of any crime deserves to be defended, if not for his innocence, at least for leniency.
However, in the case of Anwar, the defence attorneys were defending his innocence and as such, Karpal should disqualify himself even if he was requested by Anwar.
This is based on the fact that Karpal was the very person who first made the accusations against Anwar and to a very large degree, was the one who encouraged, directly or otherwise, Ummi Hafilda and Azizan to take the case one step further.
Like it or not, given Karpal’s reputation (being vocal and not mincing his words), would have inspired confidence in Ummi Hafilda and Azizan to take the matter up to Dr Mahathir himself.
What kind of moral values does Karpal hold when he had, on one hand, publicly accused Anwar and then on the other, when the accusation is filed in court, he offers himself to be the defence counsel?
And one wonders why the Bar Council had not taken any steps to discipline Karpal? Is it out of fear (of his reputation) or that he speaks the same language as most members of the Bar.
And one should also wonder why Anwar himself seems to be comfortable with Karpal who had publicly accused him of his sexual misdemeanour but fumes and rant when it came from Dr Mahathir?
It can only then be deduced that Karpal is an unscrupulous lawyer/politician who is opportunistic and would grab anything which could provide him political gain.
Less the public forgets, Karpal when realising the unhappiness of the masses for the accusations of Anwar being a sodomite, ensured that he capitalised on the ground swell.
Gaining much publicity and political ground by being Anwar’s defence counsel, Karpal decided to take one step further. He was again at the forefront in making the accusations of a conspiracy to murder Anwar over the use of arsenic.
No doubt, it was later proven that there was no such thing but for Karpal, he managed to grab the opportunity to be the “hero” of the moment and got the publicity he needed.
His kind of politics is divisive and destructive. It can only be deduced that he resorted to this because he could not stand the leadership of the Malays.
He couldn’t stand Dr Mahathir at the top and neither could he accept Anwar as the successor. How does he remedy it – by pitting them against each other and then befriending the one perceived to be the victim?
Karpal cannot stand the fact that if there is any Malay in the country that would not be intimidated or suffer any sense of inferiority, it would be Dr Mahathir.
And Karpal knows, for as long as Dr Mahathir is respected and popular among the Malays, his agenda of undermining Malay leadership would not be achieved.
Now, he is back to his old tricks – throwing his support behind Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
This sudden affinity for Abdullah has got nothing to do with his concern over whether the nation is better off with Abdullah or otherwise.
Karpal realises that for as long as Abdullah remains as the Prime Minister and Umno president, the Malays would be further disenfranchised and sidelined in a nation where they are the majority.
To him, Dr Mahathir must not be allowed to push for Abdullah’s resignation as this would set back his agenda or maybe even back to square one.
The only way is to turn his attention on Dr Mahathir, encourage Abdullah to unearth issues which are perceived to be Dr Mahathir’s dirt so as to shut up the former Prime Minister.
Otherwise why does he only seemed concerned about Dr Mahathir’s purported past misdeeds when Abdullah’s misadministration and malpractices presently are there for everyone to see.
Karpal seems concern about use of ISA in the 1998 Ops Lallang. It can be argued that there are those who believed that Ops Lallang was a necessity given the political temperature then which was ready to blow.
Ask any Malay who was politically sensitive during that period – they would tell you that they were then ready to jump into the next bus and attend the Malay gathering at the TPCA stadium just to express their anger for the non-Malay continued attacks on the Malay rights and privileges.
The situation was indeed explosive and it can be argued that Ops Lallang was an evil necessity.
However, if Karpal is so concerned about the use of the ISA, there seems to be a deafening silence on his part when Abdullah used the ISA to lock up Sri Lankan businessman BSA Tahir for his links over the export of centrifuge to Libya by Scomi.
While Tahir may pose a danger but the fact that he was directly linked to Abdullah’s son Kamaluddin and his company Scomi made the placing of Tahir under the ISA very suspicious.
In fact, it smacked of Abdullah’s attempt to silence Tahir so as to protect his son. By any moral standards, between Ops Lallang and Tahir’s detention, the latter is immoral, unjust and self-serving.
If Karpal can be so concerned with the plight of a man he had publicly pronounced as a sodomite, is he not concerned with the possible victimisation of Tahir by the Prime Minister.
This, yet again, proves that justice and fair play are not of concern to Karpal.
The demand that Dr Mahathir apologise to Salleh Abas proves very much Karpal’s lack of regards for the justice system he proclaims to champion.
The matter cropped up when newly-appointed de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim decided to put his foot in his mouth by suggesting that the Government apologise to Salleh Abas.
Then it was revealed that Zaid himself had in 1989 supported the setting up of the tribunal and had then, in his capacity as Muslim Lawyers Association president condemned the Bar Council for continuing to question the tribunal.
The whole issue boils down to whether the tribunal had been legally instituted or otherwise.
If it is, as Zaid seemed to be inferring, then the next question is whether the tribunal’s decision was right or wrong.
If it is accepted to be right, the issue of apologising to Salleh Abas does not arise. If its decision is wrong, then the tribunal should apologise to Salleh Abas and not anyone else.
As such, the whole thing must go through a process of several stages if justice were to be achieved. But for Karpal, these stages need not be pursued as justice to him is only when he is the judge, jury and executioner.
But he has not always been an executioner. Karpal was at one time willing to be executed, if his remark “over my dead body” is to be used as a yardstick.
He remarked this when PAS stoked the idea of setting up an Islamic state which brought strong reactions from DAP leaders and secularists.
But none were as strong as Karpal’s who, apart from having proven to be a committed one man anti-Malay army, now wanted to be anti-Islam.
While debates are encouraged and should be tolerated pertaining to the Islamic state issue, was it necessary to come up with such threatening statement as “over my dead body”.
Even though being a rabid anti-Islam may serve Karpal’s political career in his majority non-Malay constituency, his remark hurt many a Malay/Muslim feelings.
But did he care? Of course he didn’t. He only seemed to be remorseful in 1999 when PAS took the leading role in the reformasi movement, when a large segment of the Malays were quite united in opposing the BN Government.
Again Karpal saw the opportunity to work with the Malay/Muslims and he then expressed his regrets for making the “over my dead body” remark. Why the change of heart?
Simply because he knew that to ensure the continued split among the Malays, he must support either one of it and for his political agenda, it was best to support the reformasi even though PAS was very central to it.
Such is Karpal’s nature that, to my mind, contemptible is too gentle a word to describe a person like him.
My repulsion for Karpal is not so much of his party affiliation and our differences in ideology.
There are opposition activists that caught my admiration. Dr Syed Husin Ali's dedication to his ideological belief. The intellectual depth of the late Rustam Sani. Lim Kit Siang's energy, enthusiasm and dedication. Nik Aziz's peity and humility. In his heydays, Lee Lam Thye's sense of community. Even Anwar Ibrahim that I wrote much against, I must admit his oratory skill is mesmerising and captivating. I can easily see through it.
For LKS's tag partner, Karpal Singh, I have none. I do not admire a perpetually contemptuous racist and opportunist.