Sole turbaned Sikh at Sultan Johor coronation

| Johor Baru, Malaysia | Asia Samachar | 23 Mar 2015 


Dr Harjit Singh was probably the only turbaned Sikh at the coronation of the Sultan of Johor in Johor Baru today (23 Mar 2015).

Dr Harjit, the family doctor to the sultan, carries the title Dato which he received from the state ruler in 2007.

“I’ve know Tuanku personally. I’ve been serving as a family doctor for more than three decades now,” he tells Asia Samachar in a phone conversation.

Tuanku is the honorific reference in Malay for the rulers which literraly means ‘my master’.

Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar was crowned the fifth sultan of modern Johor at the Istana Besar.

Dr Harjit had also had audiences with Sultan Ibrahim due to his active involvement in cricket.

A former national and Johor state cricket player, Dr Harjit, 65, has been the president of the Johor Cricket Council since 1987. He had also held key positions in the Malaysian Cricket Association.

Dr Harjit Singh with Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar (left) and Johor state police chief Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff at the coronation of the Sultan of Johor
Dr Harjit Singh with Malaysia’s Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar (left) and Johor state police chief Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff at the coronation of the Sultan of Johor

Asked how he viewed Sikhs, Dr Harjit says the Sultan views equally all his subjects, regardless of race or religion.

“The present gurdwara is located in an area next to a number of other places of worship. The land for all these religious places were given by the Johor rulers,” he said. “They respected all faiths.”

Dr Harjit’s father, Mewa Singh, had served on a numnber of occassions since the 1960s as the president of the executive committee of the Gurdwara Sahib Johor Baru.

“He only took the post on unanimity. He never contested for it,” he says. At 87, the retired engineer now lives in Australia.

Dr Harjit’s wife, Kaldip Kour, had recently retired as a Sister from a local hospital. They have two children: one pursuing his medical specialisation in Australia while another is a computer engineer at a local university.


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Sole turbaned Sikh at Sultan Johor coronation (Asia Samachar, 23 Mar 2015)

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  1. [THE MALAY MAIL, 24 MAR 2015]

    Sultan a traditionalist at heart, says friend

    By Dan Guen Chin

    JOHOR BARU — Datuk Dr Harjit Singh believes Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar was sending a message to his people through his coronation which was steeped in tradition.

    Having been friends with Sultan Ibrahim for the last 49 years, Dr Harjit has an understanding and insight into the fifth ruler of Johor not many people could claim to have.

    “I am so happy for His Highness. He is a traditionalist at heart and I am sure the coronation ceremony means so much to him. As I sat in the Throne Room of the Istana Besar to witness it, I could not help but reflect on how this traditional ceremony was made relevant in the modern world today.

    “I could sense he wants to tell his people he will rule fair and square, that there will be peace and harmony throughout his reign and he will always have the people’s interest at heart.

    “I know him well enough to know he will be a good Sultan. Someone who is ready to help the poor, the sick and those in need. At times he looks stern but underneath that he is an approachable man.

    It’s how you go about it. His Highness demands the truth.”

    Dr Harjit said he first met Sultan Ibrahim when the latter was just eight years old. Sultan Ibrahim accompanied his father to a cricket game which Dr Harjit had organised.

    “I have seen him grow up to become the Crown Prince and now the Sultan. It was a privilege for me and my family members to have known him a little closer than others.”
    He said he had accompanied Sultan Ibrahim as his physician on his local and overseas polo trips, where he had heard Sultan Ibrahim being described as among the best polo players in the world.

    “He is fearless and fast. He once fell off a horse and landed head first in a tournament in Australia. I advised him to stop but he continued with the game. He also suffered a dislocated shoulder in a tournament in Singapore but he never complained.”
    Dr Harjit said the Johor royal family loved sports. If they were not playing, he said they would lend their support in other ways.

    As the Johor Cricket Council president, Dr Harjit said the sport had benefited from the royal family’s generosity.

    It was also Sultan Ibrahim who officially opened Dr Harjit’s clinic at Jalan Yahya Aldatar on Oct 10, 1985, a practice he still runs until today.
    Dr Harjit said Sultan Ibrahim was health-conscious, particular about his food intake and had regular medical check-ups.

    “When the newspapers reported he was on a diet to prepare for his coronation, I was not the least surprised. He has the will and the determination to do it.

    “That’s why I believe His Highness is a man of strong character and ready to do what is right and proper for his people and the state,” said Dr Harjit.