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CM: Sikhs’ role in nation-building appreciated
Published on: Wednesday, November 13, 2019
By: Bernama

KOTA KINABALU: The Sikh community in the State may be small but their contributions to nation building are undeniable, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“There has always been a Sikh community in the State who while upholding the faith and traditions of their forefathers, also upholds strongly their Malaysian nationality. I hope that all Malaysians especially the Sikhs will understand the importance of staying united as we continue to contribute to the country’s social economic and education development.

“I am certain this can be done by encouraging them to continue the Sabahan way of life in which we mingle with people of different faiths, ethnic groups and social backgrounds. We find strength in diversity, so let us spread the goodwill and understanding because unity and harmony are the pillars of progress and growth,” he said, in his speech read by Assistant Minister Arifin bin Asgali.

Meanwhile, Sikhs in Sabah are as elated as their brethren elsewhere over Pakistan’s decision to open its border to let them pay homage at the site of the religion’s founder Guru Nanak’s 15th century tomb.

The Kartapur corridor as it is called connects the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (located in Punjab, India) and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib or Kartarpur Sahib (in Punjab, Pakistan) which is only 4km apart. KSSA (Kota Kinabalu Sikh Association) President Anup Singh said this meant that Sikhs could now go across from the Indian side with ease.

“We used to go to the border to just look (at the Kartapur site) but now we can actually go across to it. The whole of Punjab is very grateful (for the corridor). We hope that this good relationship (between both governments) will be maintained.”

Anup said both India and Pakistan had a longstanding animosity and had fought several wars. So both countries tend not to see eye to eye on many things. 

“In the past there was hatred but now there has been love that is created in conjunction with the guru’s birthday and we hope there will be a cordial relationship and easing of tensions between the two countries.

“Maybe it is the first step towards attaining peace in the future,” he said, at the 550th birth anniversary of the founder at the Kota Kinabalu Urdwara Sahib Sikh temple on Tuesday. The temple in Sembulan survived the Second World War.

Kinabalu Singh Sabha Association(KSSA) Vice President Dato Jaswant Singh said when India got divided upon independence in 1948, the Kartarpur site went to Pakistan and the Dera Baba Nanak went to India.

“We are extremely happy because previously there were a lot of restrictions in place. No doubt you can see the holy place (from the Indian side) but you can’t go (to it). So Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has done a good job indeed (in opening the border corridor).” 

Previously, Sikh pilgrims from India had to take a bus to Lahore to get to Kartarpur, which is 125km although people on the Indian side of the border could physically see it from the Pakistani side. 

An elevated observation platform had also been built on the Indian side, where people can use binoculars to get a good view of the Kartarpur shrine.



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