Malaysia National Sikhs Movement (GerakSikh) letter to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) following a report in a local newspaper about male Sikhs not being allowed to spot the beard.
4th March, 2015
Y. Bhg. Tan Sri Hasmy Agam
Chairman, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
11th Floor, Menara TH Perdana,
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Y. Bhg. Tan Sri,
RE: INCIDENT OF MALAYSIAN SIKH SCHOOL CHILDREN ASKED TO SHAVE FACIAL HAIR.
We refer to the above matter.
On behalf of Malaysia National Sikhs Movement (GERAKSIKH) and the Sikh Community, I would like to bring up to the attention of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) on an issue that had recently taken place which affects the Sikh Community.
As reported by the Star and other news agencies, three Sikh students in Muar, Wangsa Maju and Seremban were recently told by their school heads to shave their facial hair or have disciplinary action taken against them, including expulsion. As a matter of fact such incidents have been taking place periodically as a result of some overzealous staff and on an ad-hoc basis, as reported, Sikh Organisations have been going to the respective schools to explain on the matter.
It is rather surprising that after 58 years of Independence, there are still some individuals who are not well versed with the religious beliefs of the Sikh Community. To make it worse, being a school administrator, the school heads threaten expulsion for following the faith.
Y.Bhg. Tan Sri, under the Sikh religion, the most important symbols for the Sikhs to observe are the Five Ks which are 5 items of dress and physical appearance given to Sikhs which give them a unique identity signifying discipline and spirituality. They are:
- Kesh (Unshorn hair)
- Kirpan (Small sword)
- Kerra (Steel Bracelet)
- Kanga (Wooden Comb); and
- Kachera (cotton boxer shorts)
Cutting or shaving of hair is strictly not allowed in the Sikh religion.
Y. Bhg. Tan Sri, it is important that the Sikhs right to maintain the tenants of its faith be preserved at all time. Freedom of religion is clearly enshrined in our Malaysian Federal Constitution.
Therefore, it is timely that SUHAKAM being the body responsible for all Human Rights issues take this matter further to the relevant authorities, particularly to the Education Ministry and to give them detailed explanation on the Sikhs beliefs and the usage of the 5K’s.
With that done, thereafter, we recommend that guidelines shall be drawn which should be disseminated right from Pre-school up to Tertiary level so that all are aware of the issues and to ensure that Sikh students be allowed to practice their religious beliefs freely without any hindrance. With this steps taken, we believe that such incidents can be avoided in the future.
Y.Bhg. Tan Sri, although we are minority community in this country, however, we are proud that our forefathers served with distinction having fought for the Independence of this country Malaya (now Malaysia). Therefore, we sincerely hope SUHAKAM do intervene in this matter so that the rights of the Sikh are protected at all time.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
DATO’ AMARJIT SINGH GILL
DPMP., KMN., PMP., AMP., PPT., JP.
Secretary General, Malaysia National Sikhs Movement (GERAKSIKH), cum
President, Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Ipoh (Central Sikh Temple, Ipoh)