Sikh lawmakers should come together, says NZ MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi

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Gobind Singh Deo (left) and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi -Photo: Gobind Singh Deo facebook page
By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |

The growing number of Sikh lawmakers globally should come together to bolster the community’s lobbying power, says a New Zealand long serving parliamentarian.

“We should forge links to boost our efforts to help the community,” Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, the first Sikh MP in NZ, told Asia Samachar in Kuala Lumpur.

On Tuesday, the four-term MP from the National Party, who is on an official visit with two fellow MPs to Malaysia, paid a courtesy call on Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo, the country’s first Sikh to be made a minister.

“It was an absolute honour to meet Honourable Gobind Singh Deo Minister of Communication in Malaysia and his brother Ramkarpal Singh both sons of veteran Lawyer and MP Karpal Singh during my visit to Kuala Lumpur,” Kanwaljit shared on his Facebook page.

Over the last few years, there have been a growing number of Sikhs being elected as lawmakers, with Canada taking the lead.

In 2015, Canada made history when then newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed four Sikhs into his Cabinet, including Harjit Singh Sajjan as the national defence minister.

In the United States, while there are no elected Sikh lawmakers in the congress, but a number of Sikhs have been elected to key positions.

For example, Gurbir Singh Grewal became the 61st Attorney General of the State of New Jersey in January 2018.

Prior to his selection, Grewal served as Bergen County Prosecutor, the chief law enforcement officer of the most populous county in New Jersey and home to nearly 1 million residents living in 70 municipalities

The US also has a American Sikh Congressional Conference.

Formed by Representatives Judy Chu (D) and David Valadao (R) on 24 April 2013m, the caucus seeks to educate members of Congress and the general public about Sikh issues and support the American Sikh community.

The UK has two Sikh MPs in the House of Commons and a Sikh Lord.

In 2017, Preet Kaur Gill became the first Sikh woman MP and Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi became the first turban-wearing Sikh MP, boosting the presence of Indian-origin presence in the House of Commons to a record 12.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs is chaired by MP Preet Kaur Gill MP. Its two vice chairs are Conservative MP Dominic Grieve and Labour MP Pat McFadden, both former Ministers.

The latest to join the list of Sikh lawmakers globally is Narender Singh Khalsa, son of a slained Afghanistan Sikh leader, who seems to have secured a seat on behalf of Sikhs and Hindus community in the nation’s parliamentary elections, pending final confirmation.

 

RELATED STORY:

Afghan Sikh slain leader’s son secures seat in parliamentary elections (Asia Samachar, 6 Jan 2019)

 

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