Sikhs and other north Indian communities raised more than RM1.5 million at a fund raising dinner today for a shared crematorium in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
An air of bravado and can-do spirit permeated the evening function as gueats mingled with the nation’s first Sikh federal minister who was present to lend his support.
The event once again reflected how the minority communities have put their heads and hearts together to chart their common future.
The subject at hand – the Jalan Loke Yew Sikh-Hindu crematorium which was believed to have started operating in the late 1890s. It badly needs a makeover.
The Shamshan Bhoomi Parbandak Society (Selangor & Federal Territory) manages the crematorium for Sikhs, Gujrati, Sindhi and other North Indian communities.
Going on stage, former Malaysian Sikh top cop Amar Singh could sense the excitement of the more than 200 guests at the fund raising dinner held at a Kuala Lumpur hotel.
Since December 2018 and at the dinner function, he said the team has raised RM1.586 million from 177 individuals.
“I think this is the biggest single collection ever. I’m amazed how they managed to do it,” said Amar, the former Malaysian Federal Police Commercial Crime Director Commissioner. He was also at one point the Kuala Lumpur police chief.
“You will be surprised to see who came forward to give. Many chipped in,” he later told Asia Samachar. “Even today, some have come forward to donate. No collections today, I toldthem.”
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Then came the turn of Malaysian Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo to take on the stage.
“As we celebrate life, we also have a responsibility to respect those whose journey in life comes to an end.
“This is the reason I stand here as a Minister. I congratulate the commuity for what they have done. This is a great cause. It impacts us all,” he told the audience.
“We must also acknowledge the role of the previous government as well,” he said, noting that it had contributed RM500,000 in terms of infrasturcture and other works.
He singled out the role played by former deputy minister M Saravanan and former senator Daljit Singh, both from MIC.
The pledges Gobind made were RM50,000 each from DBKL, Federal Territory Ministry, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia and the family of the late Karpal Singh. Gobind is the son of Karpal, the legendary lawyer and parliamentarian.
Most the guests at the dinner were elated to be part of the crematorium’s redevelopment.
“This is one way to honour the departed,” said education enterpreneur Dr Parmjit Singh who helms Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU).
On 5 Aug 2018, Gobind and community members got together for the laying of the foundation stone for a planned complex for the crematorium.
The Sanatam Dharam Sabha Kuala Lumpur, which manages the Shree Lakhsmi Narayanan Mandir Kuala Lumpur, then pledged a RM500,000 donation towards the project which is expected to cost RM5 million.
“That is the single largest donation,” said Amar. It is not part of the RM1.5 million he announced earlier.
The fund raising dinner tonight allows the first phase of the project to move unhindered.
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