Gobind Singh Deo, a third term parliamentarian and son of the late legendary politician and lawyer Karpal Singh, makes history as the first Sikh to become a Malaysian minister.
The 45-year old politician was today named as the Minister of Communications and Multimedia by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He also becomes one of the two politician of Indian descend in the soon-to-be formed Cabinet of the Pakatan Harapan (PH), the coalition that dethroned Barisan Nasional (BN) that had ruled Malaysia continuously since its independence since 1957.
The other Indian in the Cabinet is Human Resource Minister M Kulasegaran, also coming from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), the party which was once chaired by Karpal who died in a car accident in 2014.
The ministers will be sworn in on Monday (21 May 2018).
Gobind was admitted to the Malaysian Bar in 1996, a year after returning from Lincoln’s Inn. In 2008, he was elected to Parliament after defeating the Barisan Nasional incumbent Lau Yeng Peng in Puchong in a general election that saw the Opposition parties capture the states of Penang and Selangor. His constituency Puchong sits in the state of Selangor.
He is also the national legal bureau secretary of the DAP.
His eldest brother, Jagdeep Singh Deo, won a state assembly seat in Penang while another brother Ramkarpal Singh won the Bukit Gelugor parliament seat.
Sikhs in the diaspora have made their mark in politics. In 2015, four Sikhs were made Cabinet minister after Justin Trudeau’s party won the Canadian general elections, including Harjit Singh Sajjan as the defence minister. The others were Navdeep Singh Bains as Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Amarjeet Singh Sohi as Minister for Infrastructure and first-time MP Bardish Kaur Jhagger as Minister for Small Business and Tourism.
In October 2017, Jagmeet Singh created another history for Sikhs in the diaspora when he won the leadership of the New Democratic Party (NDP), the third largest political party in Canada.
The list of Cabinet members are as follows:
1. Prime Minister – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Pribumi – Langkawi)
2. Deputy Prime Minister – Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR – Pandan), who is also Minister of Women and Family Development.
3. Home Minister – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Pribumi – Pagoh)
4. Education Minister – Dr Maszlee Malik (Pribumi – Simpang Renggam)
5. Minister of Rural Development – Rina Harun (Pribumi – Titiwangsa)
6. Minister of Economic Affairs – Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (PKR – Gombak)
7. Minister of Housing and Local Government – Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR – Ampang)
8. Minister of Finance – Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan)
9. Minister of Transport – Anthony Loke Siew Fook (DAP-Seremban)
10. Minister of Communications and Multimedia – Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong)
11. Human Resource Minister – M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat)
12. Defence Minister – Mohamad Sabu (Amanah – Kota Raja)
13. Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry – Salahuddin Ayub (Amanah – Pulai)
14. Health Minister – Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Amanah – Kuala Selangor)
Lawmaker Gobind, Justice Harmindar made honorary members of Kelab Aman (Asia Samachar, 17 May 2018)
Early election lessons (Asia Samachar, 9 May 2018)
These Sikhs may get a ticket in next Malaysian general elections (Asia Samachar, 8 April 2018)
Jagmeet Singh wins party leadership, now eyes Canadian prime ministership (Asia Samachar, 2 Oct 2017)
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