Sungai Lembing gurdwara abandoned in 1990s after tin mining collapse

No donations needed as there are no concrete plans to restore the gurdwara as yet, says MGC

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The abandoned building of Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Lembing
By Malaysian Gurdwaras Council | MALAYSIA |

Subject:  Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Lembing

  1. We refer to the above matter.
  2. This purported Gurdwara Sahib Sungai Lembing is about 35 Kilometers from Kuantan. Today it is a deserted place covered with some grown-up jungle. Photos of it have been shared in the Whatsapp groups in the last few days.
  3. The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council President together with other MGC officials had visited the site on 20/03/2016. The team was taken from Kuantan Gurdwara on 20/03/2016 at about 2.00 PM by one Ex-Sungai Lembing resident Sdr. Sukhbir Singh. On reaching the site, photographs were taken of the area. This abandoned Gurdwara Sahib site is at the foot of a ‘Jungle Track Route’ which leads uphill.
  4. Thus, Sungai Lembing is famous for its Tin ore mines and boasting of the largest underground Tin Mines. In Sungai Lembing, there are the largest underground mines in the world having many multi-tiered tunnels. This Tin mining activities started around 1920 and by 1986, the Tin-Mining industry was closed. The fatal blow to the Tin Mining industry had come in 1985 when the world market price had nose dived in the Sungai Lembing area and ending its boom. All this information was obtained personally from the Sungai Lembing Muzium.
  5. We were told by our guide that Sikhs began moving to the area from the 1920’s and mainly worked in the Tin Mines. Earlier in the 1920’s a Gurdwara was built near a river which after few years was abandoned due to the occasional river floods. The present abandoned site was then built in the 1940’s. Sikh families began moving out from Sungai Lembing from about 1986 and by the 1990’s most Sikhs had moved out mostly to Kuantan and today no Sikh family lives in Sungai Lembing.
  6. The MGC had in 2016 given responsibility to the Gurdwara Sahib Kuantan committee to trace ownership of the land, where Gurdwara Sahib Lembing used to be operative. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was taken from Gurdwara Sahib Lembing to Gurdwara Sahib Kuantan in the 1990’s and since then there has been NO installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji there. The ownership of the area in the early 1920’s to 1980’s was with the PCTL Mining Company. As there are no Sikh families in Sungai Lembing now, the matter did not go very far as there was no local Sikh available to take the lead.
  7. Since the matter has now risen again after 4 years, fresh initiative has been started to look into the viability of restoring the Gurdwara Sungai Lembing. An ad-hoc committee has been formed under our earlier Sikh Guide Sdr. Sukhbir Singh to look into the matter afresh and come up with some proposals to the MGC. Kindly be informed also that the Gurdwara Sahib built area is only about 17 feet X 24 feet. There are no rooms or any Langgar hall. A copy of site photo is attached.
  8. Meanwhile, kindly do not give any donation to anyone as there are no concrete plans about the restoration of the Gurdwara Sahib Lembing as yet.

Dhanwad Ji

Jagir Singh, President, Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC)

[MGC letter dated 25 Sept 2020 sent to all gurdwaras in Malaysia. A copy was emailed to Asia Samachar]
RELATED STORY:

Gurbani classes at 44 Malaysian gurdwaras major step-up for MGC (Asia Samachar, 2 Dec 2019)

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. The abandoned Sungai Lembing Gurdwara may just be one of several other Gurdwaras around the country which may be in similar condition or may be deemed to be abandoned due to absence of Sikhs in the vicinity of the Gurdwaras due to various reasons. The Tumpat and Tapah Road Gurdwaras may be such examples while some others may be used for residential purposes by some families. Most of these abandoned-deemed abandoned-neglected Gurdwaras may be located on Police-Railways or company lands where Sikhs may have been residential many decades ago due to their employment.

    IT IS SUGGESTED THAT MALAYSIAN GURDWARA COUNCIL CONDUCT A SURVEY OF ALL THE GURDWARAS IN THE COUNTRY AND IDENTIFY WHICH ARE ABANDONED-DEEMED ABANDONED-USED BY SOME FAMILIES AS PERSONAL RESIDENCES FOR OWN BENEFIT DUE TO BEING LONG TIME RESIDENTS. MGC HAS THE RESOURCES/CONTACTS TO CONDUCT SUCH A SURVEY AND INFORMATION GATHERED CAN THEN ASSIST MGC TO DECIDE ON THE FATE OF THE BUILDINGS AND LANDS BASED ON THE OWNERSHIP STATUS OF THE GURDWARAS.
    Lands of some abandoned Gurdwaras, if on State lands, may be returned to the State and as compensation request for lands in other locations where a Gurdwara may be justified due to number of Sikhs such as in new housing areas in some new towns.

    It is possible that the Holy SGGS may also have been in conditions where the Pages cannot be read or used and thus may not be getting due respect. MGC should consider proper sanskar of these old SGGS copies.
    [I had observed some of such abandoned-deemed abandoned-used by families as personal residences Gurdwaras during my Audit/KTM-EMRAIL service career [1977-2004] and had verbally informed local Sikhs as well as some who were then in the MGC]

    Only hope is that this will not take several years as in the case of Sungai Lembing gurdwara.

    Gur Fateh

    Bless all

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