Petaling Jaya old gurdwara building in dire straits

My heart missed a beat as I approached the corner house. In my mind I thought this looks like it is going to crumple to the ground any time soon.

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| Letter | Malaysia | 5 May 2017 | Asia Samachar |
UNKEPT: The state of Petaling Jaya old gurdwara building – PHOTO / MOHAN SINGH

On May 4th, I decided to go and do a Yatra to the old Petaling Jaya Gurdwara. People go all the way to India to do Yatra to visit historical sites. So I thought a Yatra to the Petaling Jaya old gurdwara will be good as very soon the Petaling Jaya annual general meeting (AGM) is going to discuss the redevelopment of this historical place into a youth centre or build class rooms there to accommodate part of the 250 Punjabi school children who are the future of our Sikh Panth.

I gave a call to my very dear friend Balbir Singh Sohanpal to see if he had the address of the old Petaling Jaya Gurdwara. He asked me to hold on for a second. He came back and gave me the No 4, Lorong Utara B address but quickly realised he was giving me the address of the new Gurdwara. He said it has been a long time since has been to the old Gurdwara but he gave me valuable information saying that it is at the back of the Hindu temple on the next road to the Assunta Hospital. He said you will find Chinese prayer vases in front of the house.

This morning I rang up Gurdwara PJ Office Manager Jaspal Singh and I was very pleased that he had the address. He gave me the address as No 6 Jalan 4/48 F, Petaling Jaya. He also said it is near the Assunta Hospital. Armed with a camera I started my Yatra to the Old Petaling Jaya Gurdwara. When I approached the place I was very pleased to see the place well developed.

The first building that caught my eye was the one above. I was very happy and I hoped this building was No 6 so I went straight to the place. It was not No 6 but No 4. I saw a kind looking Chinese gentleman and I asked his where is the old Sikh Gurdwara. He pointed me to a corner house and said that was the building belonging to the Singh people.

My heart missed a beat as I approached the corner house. In my mind I thought this looks like it is going to crumple to the ground any time soon.

I went in and called out to the residents as I saw an old bicycle and a gas tank and some Chinese prayer paraphernalia. A senior Chinese lady and her son opened the door and I asked permission to come and see the place. I introduced my self and told the lady I was coming to have a look at the place as we were thinking of doing some renovations to the place. She told me that last time also people like you come and take pictures but nothing was done. We have leaks every where in the house.

As I went into the family room this is what is saw. I nearly fainted. This is how the windows looked like. I was to see more surprises as I went inside the house.

I was really shocked when I saw the TNB meter panel with so many loose wires hanging around the power supply meter. According to the tenants no one from the Gurdwara came to repair the power supply, so the tenants did it themselves.

From reliable senior citizens it was learnt that the Old Petaling Jaya Gurdwara was a residential property that was converted for the use of a Gurdwara. This was the effort of some senior citizens who were working in factories around Petaling Jaya in those early days. It must have been very challenging for these people to put their money together to get a 4,800 square feet property to be used as a Gurdwara prior to 1969.

In 1970, when the new Petaling Jaya Gurdwara was officially opened, the committee decided to rent it out the old Petaling Jaya Gurdwara as residence. For the last 47 years the old premises of the Petaling Jaya Gurdwara has been generating rental income.

Unfortunately not much time was devoted to the up keep of this building and maintain it and as time went on the rental income reduced to the current rate of RM600 per month due to the current state of repair of the building.

I went and measured the land which has the advantage of a road frontage and a road on the side. The rough measurement is 60 feet by 80 feet. This works out to approximately 4800 square feet of land. Since this land belongs to the Sangat it will be good if it is developed for the benefit of the Sangat. The group that has a very pressing need now is the Sikh Youth group. I am told that Punjabi Education Centre (PEC) in GS Petaling Jaya has an enrolment of 250 students and the PEC administration is finding it hard to
accommodate the students.

One picture shows the Chinese Temple which is very close to our old Gurdwara. This shows that the surrounding area of the Petaling Jaya old Gurdwara is well developed. Only our building is in a state of neglect and requires immediate action before the house collapses on the tenants

I sincerely hope and pray that the upcoming AGM of the Petaling Jaya Sangat will appreciate the need to tear down the Old Gurdwara building and build a youth centre or a Punjabi Eduction Center.

This property was acquired for the sangat by our seniors who had very little means and out of respect for their effort those days we should develop and use this land for the betterment of our next generation.

Lt. Col. (Rtd) Mohan Singh Rendhawa

Lt Col (Rtd) Mohan Singh Rendahwa

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Dear Lt. Col. Rendhawa,

    Thank you for your message on the Old Petaling Jaya Gurdwara. My name is Satvinder and I am a former occupant at this place since I was born in 1974, where I stayed at this “home” for 20+ years with my family. Before us, my Grandfather had occupied this property after the New PJ Gurdwara was built.

    Most of my growing life in this world was at this place, where we had to leave eventually and move on to our own home.

    The current state of this building is a very sad state and it is surely important that someone takes a closer look at this site soon.

    Collecting rental alone means absolutely nothing if the site and premise are not kept safe enough for those residing within.

    I do hope that the PJ Gurdwara will make some useful effort to renew this premise very soon.

    Thank you.

    Best regards,
    Satvinder.

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