Karpal Singh suffered most in Kamunting camp

1

Detained during Operasi Lalang, Karpal Singh suffered the most due to his health problems, recalls ex-cell mate, Br Anthony Rogers. Susan Loone reports.

Karpal-Singh-tiger-of-Jelutong

He was incarcerated for nearly two years in the Kamunting Detention Centre with 105 others swept up in the 1987 dragnet under the rule of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamed.

Rogers, who came by to pay his last respects to Karpal last night, said the veteran lawyer had a terrible back pain, which turned worse after detention under the draconian law.

“We looked after him and massaged him, we became a caring community within the detention walls,” Rogers, who is La Salle Institution director, said.

“Karpal was very special to us, he was a very gentle person,” Rogers, who was in detention with Karpal for 10 months, told Malaysiakini.

Rogers said Karpal was the kind of man who waited longingly for his wife, Gurmit Kaur, to visit him at the Centre.

“He waited for her wonderful chapatis and chicken curry, which he would share with us,” he added.

Shared fear

Those were the little joys the inmates shared but the “biggest joke”, according to Rogers, was they also felt fear.

“It was fear, not for ISA but for detention for an indefinite period of time, or detention without trial,” he said.

“We feared because we met detainees there who had stayed for 15 or 17 years,” he added.

But the detention and solitary confinement brought the inmates together as they shared similar stories of “pain and sorrow”.

“We shared stories of our pains among ourselves and with our family and friends,” he said.

“Our friendship grew out of pain. We may be teachers, activists, religious people, or politicians but the common thing among us is that we seek (the) truth,” he added.

“This common truth bind us together.”

As the detainees waited for the good news or release date, Rogers said the inmates had learnt to live within the prison walls.

“The authorities thought by putting us there we would be miserable but we proved them otherwise. We found a different kind of joy,” he said.

Source: Malaysiakini.com, 19 April 2014

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ranbir Singh
Ranbir Singh
24 Apr 2014 7.48am

The country has lost a great man who did a lot not only for the country but
for the people he defended as a wonderful Lawyer we ever had. Rs.