The Johor state government, which last week handed over an earlier pledged RM500,000 for renovation works for Gurdwara Sahib Johor Bahru (GSJB), has been supportive of the Sikhs and its activities in the Malaysian state.
“We’ve been getting good support from the state as well as our Member of Parliament. We’ve been getting funding over the years,” GSJB committee president Manjeet Singh told Asia Samachar.
On Dec 7, the gurdwara received a cheque of RM500,000 cheque, honouring the pledge made by Mentri Besar Johor Mohamed Khaled Nordin who visited the gurdwara during a Vasakhi in April.
Khaled, who was appointed as mentri besar in May 2013, then also pledged of an annual RM100,000 grant for Punjabi language education and a 5-acre land in Kulai Jaya for Sikhs to build a community centre.
Kulai Jaya is about 30km north of Johor Bahru gurdwara, the southern most gurdwara on the Peninsular Malaysia to Singapore. The current market value of the land is estimated at RM5 million, according to one GSJB official.
The Dec 7 cheque presentation was handed over by Shahril Abdul Samad, the Johor Bahru member of parliament and a former Federal government minister.
Manjeet, who received the cheque on behalf of the gurdwara, was flanked by key officials of the GSJB committee, including its vice president Gurmakh Singh, secretary Ajaib Singh and treasurer Tell Singh.
Also present was S Balakrishnan Sinnaiyah, the state chairman of MIC, a political party representing Indians in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. BN rules at the Federal as well as the Johor state level.
Two years ago, Manjeet said GSJB received RM150,000 through Shahrir for the installation of the gurdwara’s new lift.
Under the earlier mentri besar, the gurdwara sahib used to get RM50,000 annual allocation for single mothers and welfare cases.
Earlier, in the late 1990s, GSJB used to get an annual allocation of RM10,000 for Vasakhi, but it dried up after a few years.
In a separate development on Monday (Dec 8), Perak, another state in Malaysia, had proposed an allocation of RM500,000 for the use of the 30,000 odd members of the Sikh community in the state, in its Budget 2015 announcement. It is the fifth allocation in as many years. Asia Samachar has the report here.
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Malkeet/GSJB
CHEQUE HANDOVER: Gurmakh, Balakrishnan, Manjeet, Shahrir, Ajaib and Tell.
SIRAPAO FOR SHAHRIR: (L-R) GSJB committee member Gurdial Singh, Balakrishnan, Manjeet, Shahrir, Ajaib, Tell and MSU Johor advisor Mokkam Singh.