| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 16 Nov 2015 | Asia Samachar |
A potential leadership tussle is brewing ahead of the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC), one of the largest Sikh organisations in the country.
It is understood some members are mulling a challenge against Jagir Singh for the president’s post when they meet on Saturday (21 Nov 2015).
However, it is understood that the group has yet to make public their intention if they will eventually mount a challenge to the presidency of the council with 108 gurdwaras nationwide as its members.
On his part, Jagir Singh has said he will be contesting for the president’s post.
“This will be my last term. I wanted to step down but the majority members wanted me to stay on for another term. The team wants me to complete a few projects that have been initiated and hopefully put the succession in place,” he told Asia Samachar in an interview in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Jagir has served eight years as MGC president. His first two-year term was in 2005 when he defeated Sucha Singh from Kluang, Johor, for the post. He then won uncontested in 2007.
In 2009, Harcharan Singh from Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, took over the presidency. Jagir came back for another two-terms in 2011 and 2013.
2001-2003: Sucha Singh (Kluang)
2003-2005: Malkith Singh (Banting)
2005 - 2007: Jagir Singh (Selayang)
2007 - 2007: Jagir Singh
2009 - 2011: Harcharan Singh (Sentul)
2011-2013: Jagir Singh
2013 - 2015: Jagir Singh
The office bearers to be elected on Saturday will serve for a two-year term. Before an amendment to the MGC constitution in 2011, a president was only allowed to serve for two consecutive terms.
The AGM will also elect four vice presidents, a secretary, a treasurer and members to represent the various states.
The other key office bearers of the outgoing executive committee (exco) are vice presidents Harcharan Singh, Amar Singh Sandhu, Ranjodh Singh and Mohan Singh Himawari; secretary Jagjit Singh an treasurer Arjan Singh.
“Jagir does not take along his team. He works alone,” said a MGC member critical of Jagir’s leadership.
The present 26-member committee does not have any women, though MGC has an Istri Satsang Wing.
“The National Istri Satsang plays a good role by uniting istri satsangs [women wings] of all gurdwaras. But due to some structural defects, it is not as effective as envisaged. We’re proposing to make it a dynamic force by setting up a legal trust for the istri satsang. This will make them a more dynamic force,” said Jagir in the same interview.
MGC EXCO FOR 2014-2015
President: Jagir Singh Vice Presidents: Harcharan Singh, Amar Singh Sandhu, Ranjodh Singh, Mohan Singh Himawari Secretary: Jagjit Singh Treasurer: Arjan Singh Committee Members: Perlis: Pritpal Singh Kedah: Darshan Singh Penang: Ajmer Singh Perak: Save Singh, Surindar Singh, Narindarpal Singh Selangor: Gormage Singh, Patminderjit Singh Federal Territory: Aman Singh, Satvindar Singh Negeri Sembilan: Mulkeeth Singh Melaka: Tirath Singh Johor: Baldev Singh, Gurvinder Singh, Bhagwan Singh Pahang: Harcharan Singh Kelantan: Gormok Singh Sabah/Sarawak/Labuan: Dr Kalwinder Singh Co-opted: Jasbir Singh
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MGC should change the mindset of the Gurdwara Management Committees on the restricted usage of Gurdwara Funds to include usage of Funds to assist needy Sanggat members initially to assist in education and later may be in commercial activities. Other religions are doing this so why not the Sikh Community.
Construction/Extension/Renovations of Gurdwaras should not be one of the main function of Committees. I saw during Gurparabs/Malacca Sant Sohan Singh Ji’s celebrations, persons collecting funds on behalf of tens of Gurdwaras to finance Construction/Extension/Renovations of many Gurdwaras and many in the Sanggat felt embarrassed and uneasy when walking by without doing a donation.
Funds are important where the need is there but observing that there are many Gurdwaras in small towns which appear to be little used or even abandoned, their expansion may be perceived as waste of funds.
CHANGE OF MINDSET ON USE OF GURDWARA FUNDS IS CRITICAL IF THE SIKHS ARE TO PROGRESS IN EDUCATION AND ECONOMY. There have been many cases where there have been fighting during Gurdwara elections and some want to remain for life though they may say that they are not interested but the Sanggat wants them. The reason could be for personal interest one of whom may be to control of large funds of the Gurdwara.
DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND MY VIEWS AND APOLOGIES IF ANY ONE FEELS OFFENDED AS I DO NOT REFER TO ANY INDIVIDUAL BUT MY VIEWS ARE BASED ON PAST OBSERVATIONS.
I strongly believe MGC is not fully functional on its major role. While tussle on the leadership is something positive, I believe a change of leadership is a must. Many issue remains a question mark on MGC role especially in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji beadhi issue. Nothing have been done since the issue of beadhi from the Moshi Moshi club incident. Where is the guidelines that were said supposed to come up to prevent such thing from happening. From the recent protest at Indian Embassy , makes no sense from MGC end when it could not implement the guidelines from Akal Thakth on preserving Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji sancity and respect. While MGC is busy defending interfaith society and tussle about halal trolley… the organisation has done very less in addressing the Sikh main concern. There are many issue needs to be addresses but as a normal sangat our voices and opinion goes on deaf ears just because we are not part of the organisation. It’s no more about sewa in this case but only pure political power struggle that serves nothing to the Sikh sangat.