Seeing double? Kula dons thallapa

New minister Kulasegaran enters Istana Negara donning thallapa, the Tamil headgear worn by Tamil kings

Kulasegaran swearing in at Istana Negara on 21 May 2018 doning the thallapa – Photo: Kulasegaran Facebook page

Two would-be Cabinet ministers walked into the Malaysian palace donning turbans depicting their respective traditions, while most of the other male ministers wore the songkok.

Gobind Singh Deo came in with the Sikh style turban while M Kulasegaran spotted the thallapa.

“It’s a thallapa or Tamil headgear, which was also worn by Tamil kings…It is important to insist that our culture lives,” Kulasegaran was quoted by local Malaysian media.

Both are lawmakers from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), one of the key members of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition which stunned the world when it won power, desplacing the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

The duo were sworn in together with 11 other minister who will make the core of the newly established Federal government cabinet led by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Kulasegaran, appointed as the Human Resource Minister, took oath together with Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and Salahuddin Ayub, both from fellow Parti Amanah Negara, another PH coalition member.

Gobind Singh Deo (left) and Kulasegaran after the swearing in at Istana Negara on 21 May 2018 – Photo: Kulasegaran Facebook page



We have a seat at the table (Asia Samachar, 21 May 2018)

Historic moment. Gobind becomes first Sikh minister in Asia outside India (Asia Samachar, 21 May 2018)

Tun Dr Mahathir is back (Asia Samachar, 16 May 2018)

Lessons for Singapore from Malaysian elections (Asia Samachar, 10 May 2018)

Early election lessons (Asia Samachar, 9 May 2018)


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. ……. When I saw the swearing ceremony clip on YouTube , I too thought that Mr. Kulasegaran was wearing a turban .. It did occur to me that it might be the ‘ thallapa ‘ but I was in doubt because of colour ..
    Later , I read in the media news that it was ‘ thallapa ‘ .. Usually the ‘ thallapa ‘ is of brighter colours ……. perhaps the colour of the headgears was advised by the palace ..
    It is important to insist that our culture lives ….. says Mr. Kulasegaran ..
    Let’s hope that the two lawmakers will make their headgears as part of their ceremonial Member of Parliament uniforms and also continue using headgears at palace functions also ..
    My heartfelt congratulations to both the gentlemen on their appointments as Government Ministers !