Gurdwara tells colourful story of Sikhs’ service in Malayan police force – FMT

Gurdwara president Hardev Singh holds a large copper tray used by the Sikh police officers 100 years ago to knead dough for chapatis. – Photo: FMT
By Minderjeet Kaur | MALAYSIA |

KUALA LUMPUR: Over 100 years ago, the Sikh community at Petaling Street here set up one of the first gurdwaras (Sikh temple) in the country. It was dedicated to the Sikh officers in the Malayan police force.

According to Hardev Singh, president of the Gurdwara Sahib Polis, Petaling Street, their history goes back to the 1870s when Captain Tristram Speedy, a former police superintendent, began recruiting Sikhs from India to work in the Malayan police force.

Hardev, a retired assistant director of the Special Branch secretariat at Bukit Aman, said the Sikhs were initially brought in to help Ngah Ibrahim, the territorial chief of Larut, Perak, restore law and order in Larut.

He said as the Sikhs managed to reduce the fights between the Ghee Hin (Cantonese) and Hai San (Hakka) triads, more were brought into the country to join the police force.

Hardev, who was also involved in the signing of the 1989 Hat Yai peace agreement marking the end of the Communist insurgency in Malaysia, said Speedy knew the bravery and loyalty of the Sikhs when he was in India.

“After the success in Larut, more Sikhs were brought in to serve the force in the Federated Malay States (FMS). Later, they were also employed in the non-Federated Malay States, including Sabah and Sarawak,” he told FMT.

According to Hardev, there were about 200 Sikh families in the Petaling Street area back then.

The temple also acted as a transit home for police personnel to stay in temporary accommodation between their postings. It had seven or eight rooms.

Read the full story, ‘Gurdwara tells colourful story of Sikhs’ service in Malayan police force’ (Free Malaysia Today, 17 Sept 2020), here.



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