Sikhs in Malaysian town support Chinese-origin MP

Singapore, May 2 (IANS) Ahead of the general elections in Malaysia, Sikhs in a town in the country’s state of Perak have come out in support of their sitting Chinese-origin member of parliament.

At a breakfast meeting in a gurdwara in Kampar town, members of the Sikh community in the town thanked Datuk Lee Chee Chong for the work he had done for their constituency in his first term as an MP, local media reported Thursday.

Lee is a member of the Malaysian Chinese Association, which is a part of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition that also includes the United Malays National Organisation and the Malayasian Indian Congress.

Gurudev Singh, a bank officer, said the town had seen many changes since Lee’s election as an MP with the emergence of the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR).

“People feel more confident and safer now when they are in the area,” Hardave Singh, 47, a teacher and a father of three was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.

Sathvinder Kaur, a housewife, hoped for more career opportunities for Sikh women in the town.

“We would like more career opportunities so that we can earn a living despite being at home,” the mother of four was quoted as saying.

To a request for assistance to outstation Sikh students in UTAR, Lee said, though he could not commit to anything as it was the campaigning period, he would definitely look into the request.

On the issue of security ahead of the polls May 5, he said: “Some minor and petty things have occurred. But the police are taking extra precaution by intensifying security and they know what to do.”

Kampar is a town that boomed in the early 20th century because of its tin mining industry.

Though the economy slumped after the closure of most of the tin mines, it got revived after the opening of UTAR.

Sikhs form a large portion of the town’s population of about 70,000.

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