Malaysian Indian leader cremated with state honours

Kuala Lumpur, April 20: Malaysian Indian politician Karpal Singh, who was killed in a a road accident Thursday, was cremated Sunday with full state honours.

The politician was cremated in Batu Gantong crematorium, in George Town, Penang, where his family members spent around 30 minutes performing the final rites, The Malaysian Star reported.

Singh’s family pleaded for privacy since the public refused to move away from the casket.

The funeral procession started at Dewan Sri Pinang at 7.45 a.m. and made stops at several places dear to Karpal – the Penang High Court, his office in Green Hall, the Penang state assembly building, his alma mater St Xavier’s Institution, and state Democratic Action Party (DAP) party headquarters in Rangoon Road -before making its way to the Batu Gantong crematorium.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in his eulogy said that the state government mourned his untimely and unexpected passing.

This is the first time the term “state honours” has been used to conduct a funeral.

“The family of Karpal Singh did not ask for it. It was an honour given to them,” Chow Kon Yeow, chairman of the Penang state unit of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), said.

Karpal Singh died in a road accident Thursday along the North-South Expressway near Gua Tempurung in Kampar of Perak state.

His personal assistant Michael Cornelius, 39, also was killed when his car collided with a lorry.

The politician’s son Ramkarpal, 38, and his driver C. Selvam, 27, were unhurt though they were in the car.

His Indonesian maid suffered serious injuries.

Singh was a lawyer and politician, who has been the member of parliament for Bukit Gelugor in the state of Penang since 2004.

He was a former national chairman of the DAP, a position that he assumed in 2004.

His political career began in 1970 when he joined the party.

He was first elected to parliament in 1978 as the representative for Jelutong, Penang, and held the seat for more than 20 years until 1999, when he lost.

He returned to parliament in the next general elections and led the DAP to its strongest ever performance in the 2008 elections.