Singapore | 26 Aug 2015 | Asia Samachar |
Harminder Pal Singh is exptected to be one of the Sikh contesting in Singapore’s next general election set for Sept 11.
Harminder had his first taste of national politics as a candidate in the last general election in 2011.
“Put us in power… unless we are in power, nothing will actually change,” Harminder Pal told an all-party doalogue organised by the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) dialogue on Aug 19.
He represented the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) in a 10-party debate last week.
Of course, that is the opposite of the message of the out-going People’s Action Party (PAP), which has ruled Singapore since its independence 50 years ago.
When announcing the dissolution of the Parliament today to pave the way for the snap election, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the pitch to Singaporeans to chose the team that will set the direction for the next 50 years.
“What we have achieved together in Singapore is special,” Lee said in the announcement made via Facebook.
The out-going Parliament had two Sikh MPs: Inderjit Singh from the PAP and Pritam Singh from the Worker’s Party. Inderjit has announced that he will not be seeking re-election [see story here], while Pritam is exptected to run again.
Harminder, 43, who signs off as ‘Aspiring President’, a personal tagline that he has been ussing for some years now, began his political involvement in 2011 with the Singapore Justice Party.
He was the team leader of the six members fielded under the banner of the Singapore Democratic Alliance in the Pasir Ris Punggol GRC. He is currently SDA’s chief media officer.
Harminder, who plays the sitar and electronic keyboard, the moral strength adn strong convictions to help the weaker segments of society to the Sikh values education inculcated in him from young.
“The Gurbani paaths that my mum and dad taught me and my younger sister come in so useful in strengthening my soul. It gives me the ability to face daily obstacles,” he tells Asia Samachar.
His parents are Gurcharan Singh and Daljit Kaur, and his sister is Jasleen Kaur. Gurcharan was a mechanical engineer who was also a master in Indian classical music.
“Sometimes, as young children, we don’t appreciate the strict upbringing that our parents enforced on us. But today I realise, that in busy hustle and bustle of life, I actually miss the Amrit Vela Nitnem in kirtan style and simran sessions that my parents used to bring us too.”
The next general election comes just after a euphoric golden jubilee of Singapore’s independence.
The ruling PAP, the only ruling party known to Singaporeans every since its Independence, much like the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition across the border in Malaysia, has seen its popular votes sliding over time.
In 2011, PAP won 80 out of the 87 seats in Parliament but saw its popular drop to an all-time low of 60%.
This will be also be the first polls for Singapore without the PAP founder and Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew who died in March.
Harminder Pal stood, literally, head and shoulder above the rest of the speakers at the NUSS dialogue. The next 16 days will decide if he can make break into the Parliament this time around.
MP Inderjit to call it quits (Asia Samachar, 25 July 2015)
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