It’s 8pm. In a few hours, Malaysians will receive the official results of a nail-biting general elections, one that may change the destiny of the nation. Let us ponder on some of the lessons the Sikh community can pick up from the run-up to Malaysia’s 14th general elections.
First, we can have more of the likes of Karam Singh Veriah, Karpal Singh and T Mahima Singh. These three gentlemen, among others, from the Sikh community made a name for themselves as parliamentarians.
Karam from Parti Rakyat, a left-leaning political party of the 1960s, was a socialist who stood for the little man in his daily life.
Fellow lawyer Karpal, who rose to become the chairman of DAP, is pretty well known to the present day generation of Malaysians. He’s a legend. Mahima holds the distinction of being the first Sikh parliamentarian. He was a founding member of MIC.
We need more Sikhs in politics not merely to represent Sikhs, but to ensure that Sikhs keep their bargain in this field. They should represent the entire electorate. But once there, they can also give a voice to the Sikhs.
Look at Canada, and now UK, as well. Sikhs have made a splash in their political arena. We have the likes of Harjit Singh Sajjan as Canadian defence minister. You have Jagmeet Singh, a politician still under 40, leading the third largest political party in Canada.
In June 2017, Sikhs made history in the UK. Preet Kaur Gill became the first Sikh female to be elected as an MP while Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi became the first turban-wearing Sikh MP.
We have a few in this region. Karpal’s son, Gobind Singh Deo, has steadily risen in the ranks of DAP. Across the causeway, Pritam Singh last month rose to become secretary general of the Workers’ Party, Singapore’s largest opposition political party. It will be great to see more Sikhs making a break in politics.
Second, we can take stock of how we had used the social media. During this election period, you would have received numerous erroneous reports disguised as news. And many of us would have forwarded them, as well, only to find out later that those were factually incorrect.
It’s time to review our social media skills. We should refrain from being part of the problem – sending off half-baked and erroneous reports to all and sundry in our contact list with no effort to check its veracity. That is simply wrong. We must value add to the process. Before forwarding, we must pause and think. Don’t be too quick at the draw.
This is also a good time to review who are the family members and friends that you can trust. Who has been feeding you with garbage? Who has been providing you with good input that had helped you understand better the whole electoral process? Time to ponder. Make a list.
And, now, let us go back to the biggest agenda of the day. Let us await the results.
PS: What are the other lessons? Do tell!
[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]
Pritam Singh elected secretary general, takes charge of Workers’ Party (Asia Samachar, 8 April 2018)
These Sikhs may get a ticket in next Malaysian general elections (Asia Samachar, 8 April 2018)
Jagmeet Singh wins party leadership, now eyes Canadian prime ministership (Asia Samachar, 2 Oct 2017)
4 Sikhs take up Cabinet berth in Canada (Asia Samachar, 5 Nov 2015)