India hockey captain wedding making headlines in Malaysia

Manpreet-Illi Najwa wedding on front pages of Malay dailies in Malaysia – Photo: Asia Samachar
By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |

The wedding of Indian hockey captain with his Malaysian fiancee is snowballing in Malaysia.

After being splashed on the front pages of a number of local Malay dailies today (Dec 21), the issue has invited statements from at least a state ruler, a federal minister and a state mufti after questions flared up on supposed interfaith nature of the marriage in Panjab last week.

On Wednesday (16 Dec 2020), Indian halfback player Manpreet Singh married Illi Najwa Saddique in a Sikh wedding ceremony at a Jalandhar gurdwara, ending an eight year courtship. Video clips and photographs of the ceremony – with both couples decked in Panjabi costumes – were widely shared on the social media.

Manpreet may be a celebrity in India, but the keen interest on the wedding in Malaysia is probably due to the interfaith nature of the marriage as well as that Illi Najwa is the niece of Halimah Mohamed Sadique, a prominent Umno politician who is the the unity minister in the current federal government coalition.

The news was on the on the front pages today of Sinar Harian, Harian Metro and Utusan Malaysia.

Yesterday, a deputy minister said that Illi Najwa, 27, will be questioned about the marriage when she returns home.

SEE ALSO: India hockey captain Manpreet Singh to marry Malaysian sweetheart

Today, a federal government minister released a three-page statement in which he urged the public to await for an explanation from the state religious authority. In Malaysia, religion is a state matter.

Religious affairs minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Badri said the Islamic Family Law (State of Johor) Enactment 2003 does not allow the marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, with the latter required to first convert to Islam before marriage.

Weighing in on the issue, Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar had also released a three-page statement advising all parties not to draw any conclusions or act prematurely in dealing with this issue.

“The woman is undergoing trial by media even though she has not yet declared that she wants to leave Islam. If we are in a hurry in our actions to punish her, then we will build a huge barrier for her to return to our country and widen the gap between her family in Malaysia and her life in India,” he said.

The state monarch also said Islam was a religion based on advise and not one that punishes or penalises its followers. (Islam adalah agama nasihat dan bukan semata-mata menghukum umatnya).



Long-time sweethearts tie the knot (Asia Samachar, 18 Dec 2020)


ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |


  1. As a Muslim, I’m not thrilled. BUT I’m even more disappointed by the toxic and bysybody Malaysian culture. Since when is someone’s personal life the property of government, media and every Ali, Chong and Mutu who has a Facebook account?

    To these ‘morality’ warriors, I also want to say: Do you think this girl is the only Malay woman to embrace the Sikh culture and religion? There are probably dozens if not hundreds, incl. in the UK.

    We are entering 2021. The world is hurtling towards technofascism. And these are the ‘issues’ in which Malaysians invest their brain power? Seriously…..

  2. Illi Najwa Saddique new name is (Sardarni) Navpreet Kaur. Reason she has left Islam is because Sikhi grants women equality whereas Islam and the Quran legalise gender violence and enforce the inferiority of women.

  3. To me he should know by marrying to a Muslim girl (Illi Najwa) he has to become a Musalman. As what Illi Najwa said that in end of 2019 Manpreet Singh had already become a Musalman.

  4. I pray that this matter can be solved amicably so as to not destroy the lives of a couple that just got married.
    The hypocrisy in this country is appalling when netizens are more concerned about a marriage rather than other pressing local issues that affect all Malaysians.