But on this day of the Festival of Lights, my thoughts are with the family of a very dear old friend, Datuk S.P Annamalai who was stabbed to death in Penang yesterday.
When I started life as a journalist, the courts were our training grounds. I was posted to Penang and the Penang magistrates court, (a stone's throw away from our office), was my haunt everyday. In Annamalai, I found a friend. One who explained patiently to a young cub reporter the workings of a case, the do's and don'ts in court reporting. I tagged along with him and Karpal and even Shafie, trying to sniff out important and headline grabbing cases. He was then Karpal's legal assistant. He even consoled me when I sobbed after heart wrenching cases. I followed him around from canteen to court room, covering criminal and sometimes brutal murder cases. And yesterday, Annamalai, my friend, became a victim of one. Everyday, there are stories of murder and violence. I didn't think that one day, I'd be reading about you. How sad. How very sad.
Rest in peace, my dear friend. My condolence to the family.
This is the full story from The Star:
PENANG: A well-known civil lawyer died shortly after a man stabbed him on the back with a long knife in Green Hall.
Datuk S.P. Annamalai (pic), 59, was walking back to his car with clerk S. Nalaaini, 20, when a man suddenly walked up from behind and stabbed him at 6.35pm yesterday.
Nalaaini, when met at Gleneagles Medical Centre (GMC), said the dark-complexioned man shouted as he stabbed Annamalai.
“I was so stunned that I dropped the files I was carrying. The man then took the blood-soaked knife and swung it at me but missed.
“My boss’ blood splattered all over my blouse. He also swung the knife at another lawyer who happened to be at the car park, but missed before fleeing on a motorcycle ridden by an accomplice,” she said.
She said several lawyers from the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre heard her screams and ran out of the office.
“One of them then helped my boss to his car and rushed him to the GMC,” she said.
Annamalai died at about 8pm. Forensic pathologist Datuk Dr Bhupinder Singh will conduct a post-mortem today.
Another clerk, G. Selvi, 36, said she was walking to a nearby bus stop when one of the staff at the office alerted her on what had just occurred.
“I believe the assailant was lying in wait for him. I do not know who would want to do this to him as he only handled civil cases. He had not been handling criminal cases for some time.
“He was in a good mood the whole day. He even bought my daughter, seven, a Deepavali dress. This was the first time he had done such a thing in my 16 years of working for him,” she said.
Selvi said her boss’ wife, who was in India to visit relatives, had been informed of his death, adding that she was expected to return to Penang this morning.
Annamalai, the current deputy president of Ramakrishna Ashrama, leaves behind a daughter who is a lawyer in Australia, and two sons who are working in Kuala Lumpur.