| Malaysia | 15 Mar 2017 | Asia Samachar | Updated 12:17
Veteran Sikh activist Dr Bhajan Singh was elected unanimously to lead the gurdwara management committee (GMC) of Ipoh’s largest gurdwara over the weekend, while Balraaj Singh and Karam Singh Sandhu continue to lead their committees for Taiping and Malacca, respectively.
The election of the 71 year-old private medical practitioner was a stark departure from the acrimonious elections at the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Ipoh (WGSI) in the recent years.
“We are sewaks (volunteers). Committees come and go, this is for sevaa. Let us all focus on what needs to be done. We are friendly to all parties,” Dr Bhajan tells Asia Samachar in a telephone conversation.
The annual general meetings of the three gurdwaras took place on Sunday (12 March 2017).
“We have to look into Sikhi pachaar, welfare, social activities, gurmat lessons, kathas, serving the community as a whole. This gurdwara is like an institution. It’s big. It takes care of the major function of the kaum. It also takes care of the crematorium and hearse,” he said.
Dr Bhajan, who went into private medical practice in 1984, was a former Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) vice president of and a former president of the Perak branck of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST). He was also GMC head of Gurdwara Sahib Gunung Rapat, another gurdwara in Perak’s Kinta Valley, after its building was destroyed in a fire in the 1990s.
The other key WGSI office bearers are Narinderjit Singh (vice president), Darshan Singh (vice president), Manjit Singh (secretary), Sahib Singh (assistant secretary) and Manjit Singh s/o Thakur Singh (treasurer).
They will serve a two-year term of 2017-2019. Dr Bhajan takes over from Mohinder Singh who came on board in 2016.
Taiping, another gurdwara in the state of Perak located about 70km from Ipoh, reelected Balraaj to lead the Gurdwara Sahib Taiping team. The other key office bearers are Ranjit Singh Sidhu (vice president), Ranjit Singh Sekhon (secretary) and Suckdzir Singh (treasurer).
“Getting new committee members is a tedious task. The Sikh Sanggat in Taiping is reducing. Teenagers leave town once they complete their secondary studies and people are getting busier with their daily routines,” he tells Asia Samachar.
In October 2016, Taiping Sikhs recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Taiping which manages the gurdwara.
In Malacca, the local Sikh Sanggat has given Karam and his team that came on board in 2015 another two-year term to serve at the Gurdwara Sahib Malacca.
Karam is a former president of the Malacca Sikh Sports and Cultural Club (MSSCC), which is now led by Harnikat Singh.
All posts were uncontested except for the secretary position which was won by out-going Manmeet Kaur.
The other key officials are Jaswant Singh (vice president), Gursatvinder Kaur (treasurer), Baldip Singh (assistant secretary) and Lakhbir Singh (assistant treasurer). The committee members consist of Agit Kaur, Harnikat Singh, Balwant Singh, Jaswant Singh Chawla and Daljit Singh.
GS Malacca manages the annual programme in memory of former granthi and respected preacher Baba Sohan Singh, one of the largest gathering of Sikhs in Southeast Asia. The 45th Sant Baba Sohan Singh Salana Yaadgar Semagam will be held on May 19-21.
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