| History | Malaysia | 3 July 2017 | Asia Samachar |
SIKHS in Malaysia contributed significantly towards nation building, particularly in maintaining law and order. They also played a significant role in the early economic development of Malaya, especially the Federated Malay States.
From the 1880s until the late 1920s, the main mode of road transport in Malaya was bullock carts and the majority of bullock carters were Sikhs. The Sikh bullock carters contributed to the development of the tin mining and rubber industries. They transported tin ore, latex and rubber sheets as well as construction materials for the building of roads and railways, management consultant and history writer Dr. Ranjit Singh Malhi tells The Star.
Among the Malayan Sikhs who owned a fleet of bullock carts and became prominent contractors were Vir Singh (Pajam, Negeri Sembilan), Hamir Singh (Sungai Petani, Kedah) and two brothers, Bhan Singh and Dhan Singh (Kuala Lumpur).
SEE ALSO: Indians in Malaya
SEE ALSO: Indians in Malaya
When motorised vehicles became popular in the 1930s, the Sikhs were among the first to start lorry transport business and bus companies. Among the most successful Sikh lorry transporters in Malaysia before the 1980s were Ginder Singh Gill, Gajjan Singh, Indra Singh Sujapur and Nashter Singh Rai. Currently, among the leading Sikh transporters in Malaysia are Pritam Singh Agency Sdn. Bhd., Syarikat Roda Bulk Movers Sdn. Bhd., and Sidhu Brothers Transport Sdn. Bhd.
In Negeri Sembilan, until the late 1970s, about 70% of the bus companies were owned by the Sikhs (including Utam Singh Omnibus Co. Ltd., Seremban Town Service Co. Ltd., and Seremban Omnibus Co. Ltd.), Ranjit said in the article [The Star, 9 June 2017. ‘Story of Sikhs in Malaysia‘ by Majorie Chiew].
The article also highlighted a couple of factual errors that Ranjit wanted to address. Among them:
– The oldest known Sikh organisation in Malaysia is Sri Guru Singh Sabha Penang (1895), not Khalsa Diwan Malaya (1903), now known as Khalsa Diwan Malaysia;
– Captain Tristram Speedy recruited 95 discharged sepoys from Punjab in 1873, not 110 as generally written;
– Most of the sepoys recruited by Captain Speedy were Pathans, not Sikhs;
– The Malay States Guides were not involved in the atrocities of the 1915 Singapore Mutiny; and
– Numerous Malayan Sikhs were involved in anti-British political activities geared towards either gaining independence for India (Ghadar movement, 1913-1918 and the Indian independence movement in Malaya during World War II) or safeguarding the religio-political interests of the Sikh community in Punjab (Akali movement, 1920-1925).
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
Indians in Malaya (Asia Samachar, 22 June 2017)
First job in Malaya (Asia Samachar, 10 June 2017)
Sikh migration to Peninsular Malaysia – Part 1 (Asia Samachar, 10 June 2017)
Three main phases of Sikh immigration into Malaya (Asia Samachar, 11 May 2017)
Sikh immigration to Malaya (Asia Samachar, 11 May 2017)
Sikh soldier exhibition a major hit in New Zealand (Asia Samachar, 7 May 2017)
Art, faith, history, culture & science (Asia Samachar, 26 April 2017)
More on “Sikhs in Malaya: Gone but not forgotten” (Asia Samachar, 24 April 2017)
We have sacrificed excellence for mediocrity, meritocracy for overdose of social reengineering (Asia Samachar, 15 June 2016)
The Sikhs: A model community (Asia Samachar, 21 April 2016)
Malaysian Sikhs worry most about economy, divorce and conversion, reveals new ground breaking research (Asia Samachar, 24 Sept 2016)
Sikhs big in road transport in early Malayan history (Asia Samachar, 3 Sept 2015)