By JP Singh
The Malaysian state of Perak has announced an allocation of RM500,000 for the use of the 30,000 odd members of the Sikh community in the state. It is the fifth allocation in as many years.
The community has received similar a allocation annually since 2010.
The allocation was announced by the Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir at the Perak state legislative assembly sitting on Dec 8th, in Ipoh, Perak.
During his two-hour budget speech, Zambry, who has been MP, or chief minister, since 2009, said the allocation was part of the RM4 million allocated for non-Islamic affairs use.
“It (the allocation) is to be used for the development of the mind and socio-economy of the community as well as its welfare activities,” he said when tabling the Perak Supply Bill 2015.
The RM500,000 allocation came to be introduced in the annual Perak state budget after a group of Sikhs headed by UPSO chairman Dheer Singh (now UPSO Foundation chairman) gave a presentation on the need for state assistance to help needy Sikhs in the state, according to one of the team members involved in the meeting.
Available records show that there are about 300 Sikh families who are in need of financial assistance. A further breakdown shows that at least 200 Sikh single mothers with at least 700 children are in need of continuous assistance.
“The 2009 meeting with Zambry succeeded in convincing the Perak state government to provide monetary assistance to lighten the burden of the targeted groups,” said the same team member.
It is understood that the meeting was arranged by the office of former acting president of Gerakan Chang Ko Youn, who in 2009 was the special adviser to Zambry. The then Perak MCA Youth chief Dr Mah Hang Soon, now Perak MCA chief, too had assisted the Sikhs in obtaining the allocation over the next few years.
Meanwhile, Sikh community leaders are expected to meet up with Zambry or state secretariat officials to discuss how best to disburse the alloted money.