- Category : 1940-births
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (20)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 2
Karpal was a Malaysian lawyer and politician, who had been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Bukit Gelugor in the state of Penang since 2004. He was the former National Chairman of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a position that he assumed in 2004.
He was one of Malaysia's most prominent lawyers, and took up numerous high-profile cases, including drug trafficking charges against foreign nationals, and sodomy accusations against former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. Karpal was a staunch opponent of the death penalty, especially in relation to drug trafficking offences.
In both courtrooms and parliament, he was known as a controversial figure. He was suspended from parliament numerous times, charged for sedition, and had been detained under Malaysia's internal security laws. His reputation as a lawyer and opposition politician earned him the nickname "the Tiger of Jelutong".
Karpal's political career began in 1970 when he joined the DAP. He won a seat in the Kedah State Legislative Assembly in 1974. He was first elected to parliament in 1978 as the representative for Jelutong, Penang, and held the seat for more than 20 years until losing it in 1999. He returned to parliament in the next general election, and led the DAP to its strongest ever performance in the 2008 general election. In 2014 Karpal relinquished his post as DAP chairperson pending the disposal of his appeal against a politically motivated sedition charge: in March 2014, the Malaysian High Court found him guilty of uttering seditious words against the Sultan of Perak at the height of the constitutional crisis in 2009.
A motor vehicle accident in 2005 left Karpal using a wheelchair and with neuromotor problems in his right arm. Despite this, he continued his legal and political careers.
Karpal died on 17 April 2014 after being involved in another motor vehicle accident. He was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Penang to attend a court hearing later in the morning when the accident occurred. It is believed his MPV collided with a lorry which switched lanes without indication. There are reports that a urine test on the lorry driver revealed that he had consumed an illegal drug.