Ramli pays tribute to Sikh community


Guest of honour at Vaisakhi celebrations recounts its contributions to the nation

KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of devotees congregated in gurdwaras nationwide on the holy day of Vaisakhi, which commemorates the founding of the Khalsa (the pure) order by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th Sikh Guru in 1699.

Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Ramli Mohd Nor, who was the guest of honour at the Gurdwara Sahib Tatt Khalsa here, said he attended the celebration for nation-building and personal reasons.

“The Sikh community has made significant contributions to the development of our nation from the 19th century.

“Ever since they were in the security forces back then, they have been involved in ensuring the peace and prosperity of our country.

“Therefore, it is our duty as Malaysians to go back and give them the credit they deserve,” he said.

More awareness: The Gurdwara Sahib Tatt Khalsa committee members explaining the festival process and showing Ramli (second from left) around the Gurdwara. — LOW LAY PHON/The StarMore awareness: The Gurdwara Sahib Tatt Khalsa committee members explaining the festival process and showing Ramli (second from left) around the Gurdwara. — LOW LAY PHON/The Star

Ramli, an Orang Asli who grew up in police camps during the communist insurgency, added that it was a nostalgic experience as the Sikhs in the camps brought him to gurdwaras for Vaisakhi ever since he was 10 years old.

“Growing up in the camps, I was surrounded by members of the Sikh and Tamil communities who served in the security forces.

“They looked out for me and told me to study hard while my father was battling communists in the forest. Without them, I would not be the person I am now,” said Ramli, who also wished Happy Vaisakhi to all devotees who celebrate.

Dr Pola Singh, 75, who is of mixed Sikh and Chinese parentage, said it was truly heartening to see Ramli attend the Vaisakhi celebration at the gurdwara.

“His presence demonstrates a commendable openness to embracing and understanding the diverse cultural and religious practices in Malaysia.

“I believe such gestures pave the way for greater mutual respect and appreciation among Malaysians of different faiths,” he said.

Sweet treats: Samantha David, 7, (left) and Revina David, 5, showing a plate of traditional cookies served during the Vaisakhi celebration at the Gurdwara Sahib in Bayan Baru. — KT GOH/The StarSweet treats: Samantha David, 7, (left) and Revina David, 5, showing a plate of traditional cookies served during the Vaisakhi celebration at the Gurdwara Sahib in Bayan Baru. — KT GOH/The Star

Tatt Khalsa Diwan Selangor committee vice-president Gurdarshan Chahal said they held three days of prayers specially for the festival.

“Around 3,000 devotees have also attended and the crowd grows by the day, with today being the last day.

“Devotees are invited to have their vegetarian meals at the langar (community kitchen).

“We also have a medical camp with collaboration from a few organisations,” he said.

Through their collaboration with the National Cancer Council Malaysia and Hospital Kuala Lumpur, the gurdwara community members welcomed devotees to have cancer screening and donate blood.

National Wanita MIC welfare bureau chief Amarjit Kaur said the free mammogram screening and pap smear tests along with five major blood screenings for cancer only cost around RM50.

“I think it’s worth it because if you do the screening outside, it will surely cost around RM100 just for one cancer screening,” she added.

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Ramli Mohd Nor , Sikh community , Vaisakhi

   

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