IT has been 10 years since the passing of the late Karpal Singh, whom I address as “boss”. He is renowned by the media and the public as the “Tiger of Jelutong”.

Many within the legal field know him as the defender of the defenceless and the voice for the voiceless. Many remember him as one of the key builders of DAP.

For me, I remember him as my greatest mentor, in law and politics. At the start of my legal career, I worked at his son Gobind Singh’s law firm. It was through this relationship with Gobind that I had opportunities to work on cases with my boss.

I served as his junior counsel on numerous occasions and had the privilege to witness him arguing in Malaysia’s apex courts. Every point he articulated and every question he posed proved he was an eloquent lawyer, underscoring his love for the law and justice, defining his illustrious career.

He was also willing to teach a new lawyer like me the tricks of the trade and instil in me on what is right and wrong. Never did he tire of ensuring that those who came to him received guidance and a strong moral compass. I continue to carry those invaluable lessons with me now as a partner in my law firm and as the state assemblyman for Kota Kemuning.

I was deeply inspired by his strive for justice. Boss never hesitated to stand up for the “little” guy, especially when the person on the docket was a victim of misjustice.

Despite all that, he had the highest respect for the courts of law. Once I assisted him on a case in the Court of Appeal. I was not wearing my robes when the judges entered the courtroom. In my haste, I tried to put them on. He stopped me and told me to go outside to do so, saying: “The court is not your changing room.” This shows his reverence for the institutions while fervently advocating for change.

The spirit of standing up for the “little” guy can also be seen in the political arena. As an elected representative, boss never hesitated to say what is right, regardless of what opponents would say or do.

In Parliament, the “Tiger of Jelutong” fearlessly roared to rally support for righteous causes, advocating for the repeal of unjust laws and the enactment of beneficial ones.

Even when he was arrested during Ops Lalang, his resolve remained unyielding. Upon his release, he continued to fight for what was right without fear, demonstrating his commitment to justice.

Despite being likened to a tiger, he was always friendly and humble. I recall attending a Bersih rally with him, and as he was making his way across the venue, he was mobbed by a huge crowd of supporters who wanted to take photos with him. With a smile he indulged their requests.

He enjoyed meeting people he aimed to help. If you sought his counsel, he would welcome you with open arms, inquire about your concerns and work hard to help you. He was truly a man of the people.

Exactly a decade after his passing, the party he helped build is now part of a unity government. This government is tirelessly working to serve all people regardless of race or religion.

Parliament, the government and the courts are striving to ensure justice for all. It is now up to us, the new generation to uphold the legacy of Karpalism.

We must try to transform all the principles he stood for into reality. Why? The reason is simple: Malaysia is built by Malaysians and it is only right for us to stand by them.

Missing you boss, and I hope that as you look down from heaven, you can see that you are remembered through the principles you have stood for and that your legacy lives on in Malaysia, a nation you dedicated your life to help build.