| Petaling Jaya, Malaysia | 13 May 2017 | Asia Samachar |
Petaling Jaya gurdwara is expected to have another noisy annual general meeting (AGM) tomorrow, with six candidates vying for positions already rejected on technicalities.
Baldev Singh, a retired banker and a former jathedar of Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), had planned to mount a challenge against out-going president Gurdeep Singh, a retired policeman. However, his nomination has been rejected for errors in the form.
Also rejected were the nominations forms for outgoing secretary Avtar Singh ‘Terry’ and former president Harphajan Kaur, both vying the vice president slot, along with three nominations for committee member positions.
“I accept the decision. Constitution is supreme,” Baldev tells Asia Samachar in a telephone conversation.
AGMs at the Gurdwara Sahib Petaing Jaya (GSPJ), which serves a large segment of the Sikh population in the most developed city in the state of Selangor, have usually been heated affairs.
Its constitution presently mandates a gurdwara management committee (GMC) to be elected for a two-year term. All positions – president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and committee members – are up for grabs. In the past, members elected five officials who would then form the GMC to steer the management of the gurdwara affairs.
This time around, some quarters have also alleged that nomination forms may have been manipulated to allow certain candidates to sail through for the elections.
However, outgoing GSPJ officials have denied any such action, pointing out that even candidates from the outgoing committee have suffered rejections, including Avtar.
It is understood that letters with regards to the alleged irregularities have been dispatched to the Registrar of Societies (ROS), the body that governs societies in Malaysia. It is not clear, however, the nature of the letters to the society regulatory body.
When asked about the alleged form manipulation, Gurdeep said: “Let them raise the issue and let the Sanggat discuss the matter. Sanggat is supreme.”
On this matter, some senior members of Sikh organisations have suggested that it was about time gurdwaras and societies like Petaling Jaya, which have to contend with elections that can get heated up, to nominate some form of independent nomination officials.
“The out-going committees should not interfere with the nomination and election process. It should be handled by an independent team, preferably nominated by the house itself,” said one official.
When asked what are the key challenges facing the gurdwara moving forward, Gurdeep said they included completing the approved upgrading of the current gurdwara building and developing the land of the old gurdwara building.
He said the AGM two years ago had approved the proposal to refurbish the present gurdwara building, located next to the Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital, which included fitting a lift.
“The old gurdwara building has been on our agenda. But we cannot be doing everything at one go. We have many proposals: some say turn it into a sports centre, some say into a cultural centre. We will decide at the AGM,” he said.
The meeting begins with voting at 8am tomorrow (14 May 2017).
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
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