Karpal Singh is widely regarded as the best criminal and constitutional lawyer practising in Malaysia today. Since graduating from the University of Singapore in 1969 he has been a fearless, intelligent advocate for justice and a defender of human rights in South East Asia, and has appeared in the Privy Council in London on a number of occasions before such appeals were abandoned by Malaysia. In his long and illustrious career, Karpal Singh has defended more people headed for death row in Malaysian jails than he cares to remember. More importantly he has developed an international reputation for his defence of many people from many nations who have faced the death penalty under Malaysia's Dangerous Drugs Act. One of his biggest achievements in recent years has been his successful defence of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on two charges of sodomy. Indeed, without his steely involvement at the head of Anwar's defence it is difficult to imagine the opposition coalition being in the position it is today of being able to realistically challenge the ruling United Malay National Organisation for power at the May 5, 2013 election.
In this book, veteran journalist Tim Donoghue, who first met Karpal Singh in 1986 while based in Hong Kong, tells the remarkable story of a tenacious and principled lawyer and politician who has emerged as the kingmaker among the various Malaysian opposition political parties.
Tim Donoghue is a journalist with the Dominion Post newspaper based in Wellington, New Zealand. He has been a frequent visitor to Malaysia since 1986 when he began covering the drugs trafficking case of the New Zealand mother and son, Lorraine and Aaron Cohen. He first discussed the possibility of writing this biography with Karpal Singh when he visited the lawyer at the Kamunting Detention Camp outside Taiping in 1988. As a journalist Donoghue's many international assignments have seen him make more than 20 trips to China. He also covered the first Gulf War from Saudi Arabia and travelled throughout the middle-eastern countries affected by the war zone. He is the author of three books including The Tiger Who Smiled (1990), which tells the story of how Karpal Singh helped the Cohens escape the gallows by the 'skin of their teeth'.