Family, friends, colleagues bid final farewell to Sri Ram

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Hundreds of people turned up at the Nirvana 2 Memorial Centre in Kuala Lumpur today to pay their last respects to former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram. Most of them were from the legal fraternity.

Datuk V Sithambaram, a senior lawyer who led the prosecution in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd case, spoke of Sri Ram’s kindness and willingness to share his legal knowledge.

“Apart from being a legend, he can hold court. We all go to court to argue cases, he can go to court and hold court and everybody will listen to him. He can make a serious point with a sense of humour that you will remember at the end of the day. And he can make a complex issue very simple to understand for the layman.

“That’s his gift, that’s very hard to come by,” Sithambaram who had known Sri Ram for 44 years since 1978, told reporters.

Sithambaram had been on the same legal team in a fair number of civil cases in which Sri Ram had been the lead counsel in the past, and recalled the latter was a “born teacher”.

“He loves to teach, he loves to see others improve. People are quite jealous about sharing but he loves to share and likes everyone to be a good lawyer.”

Sithambaram also said Sri Ram worked very hard, right to the end.

“I think it’s his calling to be a lawyer and a judge. And he will be very fondly remembered by his advocacy skills, his pronouncement of the law as a judge and he is also a judge for the poor man.

“He’s always quite sympathetic to the poor man. It’s not about power, it’s about what is right and wrong, and he will do it irrespective of who you are. So I think he’s a legend of a man, it’s a passing of an era. For me, it’s very hard for me to imagine another lawyer of his standing, calibre and wit,” he added.

But Sithambaram also said that Sri Ram was a perfectionist and could occasionally lose his temper, though it would cool off quite quickly.

Those who came to bid a final goodbye to Sri Ram were a veritable who’s who at the top of Malaysia’s law club.

Hari Anggara

There was Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, Solicitor-General Datuk Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh, former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, Pastor Raymond Koh’s family lawyer Datuk Jerald Gomez, lawyer Siti Kasim, Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah and past office-bearers such as Datuk Cyrus Das, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Christopher Leong, and Steven Thiru.

Incumbent judges who were seen today include those from the Federal Court: Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Vernon Ong, Datuk Mary Lim.

Others were from the Court of Appeal: Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, Mohamed Zaini Mazlan and Datuk Wong Kian Kheong.

Housing and Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming, Deputy Law and Institutional Reform Minister Ramkarpal Singh, Damansansara MP Gobind Singh Deo, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, Bangi MP Syahredzan Johan, Selayang MP William Leong, former Klang MP Charles Santiago, former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Latheefa Koya and former Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun were also spotted.

Gomez said that as a prosecutor he did a great job in jailed former prime minister Najib Razak’s SRC International corruption case.

“All the arguments he raised were smart. He did a great service for the country.”

Nga fondly remembers him as a brilliant litigation lawyer and said that he will be sorely missed.

“He was not only a learned judge but had a good heart. Sri Ram was brilliant and was excellent at his profession.


“He was a no-nonsense judge. We have lost one of the best legal minds in the country’s history.”

Ramkarpal said Sri Ram and his father the late Datuk Seri Karpal Singh go “long back” when they started their legal practice in the 1970s.

He added that apart from being renowned as a “sound legal practitioner”, Ramkarpal revealed that Sri Ram also “had a good sense of humour”.

“He will be sorely missed,” Ramkarpal told reporters.

Gobind said Sri Ram was a brilliant lawyer and judge, one who was with considerable experience with an extraordinary grasp of the law.

He contributed immensely to the legal profession and was able to deal with issues swiftly with his vast knowledge of the law.

“He (Sri Ram) was very experienced in constitutional law, which we followed closely. Now the younger lawyers need to keep up with it.


“Sri Ram was an extraordinary man, and his passing is a huge loss to the country and legal profession,” Gobind said after attending Sri Ram’s wake.

Gobind said that as a friend, Sri Ram was always ready when he needed any legal assistance, adding he was a mentor who everyone looked up to.

A white hearse carrying the late former Federal Court judge’s body left the memorial park at 1.54pm Tuesday (Jan 31). His family members were also seen in the hearse.