Karpal: Kit Siang would have made a very good lawyer

When I first came back from Singapore, I began practicing in Alor Setar in 1969 and when May 13th happened, I decided something needed to be done so I joined DAP. I had heard of Kit and Fan Yew Teng as well as Dr Chen and Lee Lam Thye who were all part of the strong group they had back then.

Even then, Kit was a real force and I think he would have made a very good lawyer; he is very perceptive and sharp. He would have gone a long way in law if he had chosen to. But he is so committed to politics; I think he spends 25 hours a day on it – he borrows one hour from the next day!

When I was first sent to Alor Setar to contest, I told him, “I’m alone here and you must come over at least once,” and he did. He spared an entire day for me, walking about and attending the ceramahs. He is a very thoughtful and considerate man as well. I don’t think I have ever seen him angry or losing his temper. Of course, we all have to be fierce in Parliament as part of our job; otherwise we would be devoured.

People think he is a very serious man but Kit has got a humorous side, too. Truly, without him, DAP would not be where it is today. As I have always said, no one is indispensible and it is true, but Kit Siang is a whisker away from being indispensible. He is the anchor and has a lot of fortitude in the manner that he takes on various issues. In a way, I think he and I complement each other because on the legal side, I am there and have defended him a number of times.

One amazing thing about Kit is that he would never stop any of us from making any statements. Over the years, I have issued statements as I see fit and he’s never confronted me or asked what I am doing; and neither has he done so to any of the other leaders. He leaves us to form our own positions which is good, rather than having someone who bosses you around which may deter you from openly speaking what you wish. He does not breathe down anybody’s neck.

In our council meetings, he never fights; rather, he is analytical and listens to everybody first before convincing them with his views at the end. As he turns 70, I wish him another 70 – with all our technological advances, you never know what’s possible! He is certainly needed.
He is also a very devoted family man; he keeps to himself and to his family. It would be very difficult to get another Kit Siang. He is a rare breed. I hope he is with us for a long, long time. He is getting old as all of us are but I wish him well. -The Rocket