Cancer survivor and long time social activist Daljit Singh has been elected to lead the gurdwara management committee (GMC) of the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Penang.
The 54-year old electrical engineer has been actively involved in Sikh activities as well various other non-government organisations (NGOs), including those working towards empowering women empowerment and cancer survivors.
Daljit and the new team wants to hit the road running with some of their proposed ideas outlined in their first 100 day plan – mimicking the election pledge of the new Pakatan Harapan government which surprised the nation when it won power in the nation’s general elections last month.
“We intend to work with everyone to beef up the daily programme, reduce cost at all levels, attract more naujawans (youth) back to the gurdwara and forge a closer working relationship with the three other gurdwaras on the island,” he told Asia Samachar when contacted.
Persatuan Wadda Gurdwara Pulau Pinang, the registered body running the gurdwara, held its annual general meeting on Saturday. The elected GMC members will serve for two years.
The three other gurdwaras on the island of Penang are Gurdwara Sahib Bayan Baru, Gurdwara Sahib Khalsa Dharam Jatha and Gurdwara Sahib Police.
Also elected were retired engineer Manjit Kaur as deputy president, retired Punjabi school headmaster Wazir Singh as vice president and Santokh Singh, a former banking staff who now runs a nursing home, as the treasurer.
Sukhveer Kaur, also a cancer survivor and married to Daljit, won unopposed as the secretary.
Coming on board as committee members are Hardeep Singh (legal advisor), Jinder Kaur (assistant treasurer), Amarjit Kaur @ Guddi (assistant secretary), Surinderjit Singh (maintenance/housekeeping/utilities), Bakshish Singh Mugalchak (general duties) and Grunam Kaur (Guru Ka Langgar). Dalbir Singh is the co-opted member also for Guru Ka Langgar.
The AGM also elected Manjit Kaur Jessy, the current Istri Sabha Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Penang president, and retired teacher Santokh Singh, as auditors.
The in-coming committee has also pledged that all GMC members will ‘promise in writing’ that they will not accept any federal or state honours during their term as office bearers. This is probably the first such written declaration by any gurdwara or Sikh association in Malaysia.
The committee also said it will post a summary of meeting minutes and the accounts on the gurdwara’s notice board.
Asked how they intend to attract the youth, Daljit said one immediate plan was to start tuition and counselling sessions. Free tuition may attract parents to send their children to the gurdwaras, after which they can also take part in other activities.
The team has also reached out to Gurdwara Sahib Buttwerworth, the other Penang gudwara but located on the mainland of Peninsular Malaysia, for the use of its hearse.
“This is the only gurdwara in northern Peninsular with a hearse. It will help to reduce cost of funerals as opposed to engaging private hearses,” he said.
Another pressing matter before the present team is that the 120 year old gurdwara building, a designated state heritage site, requires renovation.
“There are cracks everywhere,” he said. “We have a trustee board [led by Dr Terlochan Singh as president and Teja Singh as secretary] directly involved in it,” he said.
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Dr Bhajan to lead Ipoh gurdwara, Taiping and Malacca keep their teams (Asia Samachar, 15 March 2017)
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