By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |
A Malaysian Sikh youth outfit has rejected an attempt to entangle the organisation with debate on the so-called Dasam Granth (DG), instead trying to keep its focus on what it deems as more pressing issues at hand.
At its annual general meeting on 29 June, a good majority of the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM) members present were in no mood to drag the six-decade old organisation into what has been an acrimonious debate within some circles regarding Bachitar Natak Granth (BNG), commonly badged as DG.
After a calm and collected discussion, the house was persuaded to reject a BNG-related resolution package proposed by two senior members of the organisation.
In another major decision, the SNSM members gave the green light to a proposal to possibly selling its existing headquarters in Titiwangsa, estimated to be worth RM5 million, and move its operations to the 4-storey building it owns in Brickfields. Both are located in Kuala Lumpur.
The underlying idea is to utilise funds unlocked to develop the Khalsa Land, a 22-acre Sikh campsite in in Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB) tucked at a lush jungle foothill just an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.
Also approved was the disposing of the Sabha House in Ipoh which has ‘fallen into disuse and is currently unutilised’, estimated to worth some RM1 million.
Termed as consolidation of current SNSM assets, the idea was proposed by Gurcharan Singh and second by Harnarinder Singh, both actively involved in the team developing the campsite located about 80km from the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
With the Khalsa Land International Sikh Centre project ‘gathering pace’, the resolution noted the imminent need to raise funds, as typical development orders are time bound.
“We need to make sure that timing is right. The property market may be a little soft at this juncture,” one member told Asia Samachar.
When contact, SNSM jathedar Dr Jasbir Singh said that the organisation would like to continue its focus towards Sikhi parchar, education, welfare and developing the youth.
“We want to stay away from controversies as it time consuming and does not benefit anyone. We have bigger responsibilities to shoulder such as to create awareness on substance abuse, alcoholism and sexual abuse,” he told Asia Samachar.
He added that the Sabha, as the organisation is commonly referred to in Malaysia, has a huge project at Khalsa Land.
“We need experts who can help us craft a strategy for funding. Not only for construction funding but also future maintenance of the buildings. We need all the help we can get. Khalsa Land is for everyone’s use. Let us come together to play a part,” he said.
Jasbir also urged the youth need to play a bigger role and stop accusing elders who are taking a lead.
“The elders are there to lead and provide directions and support. The elders are there because of the youth and the youth need to come forward to support and start taking responsibilities to be part and also to lead in activities,” he said.
SNSM elects a jathedar, who then appoints members to its executive committee, for a two-year term. Dr Jasbir is serving his second term which ends next year. This is his last term as per the constitution.
The five resolutions connected to BNG, keenly discussed at the meeting, were proposed by former SNSM secretary Suret Singh and seconded by former SNSM jathedar Daljit Singh.
After vehement objection from the floor, Suret, a retired senior Malaysian civil servant, withdrew the resolutions.
Balvinder Singh, a lawyer and a long-serving SNSM volunteer who spoke out against the proposed resolutions, said he felt SNSM should stay away from the DG dispute as it does not serve any purpose in its main objective in serving the needs of the youth.
“The youth are not interested in these conflicts and have bigger and more pertinent challenges which Sabha needs to address. There appeared to be a push by the pro-DG side to steer Sabha into this conflict and onto their side. Sabha should reject this,” he told Asia Samachar when contacted.
Among others, the proposed resolution wanted the general assembly to adopt as ‘Sabha policy’ a controversial letter entitled ‘Sikh Naujawan Sabha Reaffirms Sri Akaal Takht’s Stand on Dasam Granth’, issued by the SNSM exco on 18 July 2018.
Balvinder said the letter was factually incorrect as per the Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM) and an existing Gurmatta from the Akaal Takht.
“Sabha should now withdraw that letter and apologise for the factual errors and state that it simply follows SRM and will keep away from this controversy,” he said
SNSM was set up in early 1960s and officially registered in 1967. Amg others, it runs Sikh camps and other activities.
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SNSM chief speaks out on incessant attacks (Asia Samachar, 12 March 2019)
Newly appointed SNSM exco issues stand on Dasam Granth (Asia Samachar, 21 July 2018)
Malacca booster for Khalsa Land (Asia Samachar, 25 March 2018)