In 1881, there was one contingent of Straits Settlements Police stationed in the compound of Fort Cornwallis, Penang. The Sikh Police personnel in this contingent were given a room at the top of the fort to be used as a place of prayers. They converted this room into their Gurdwara Sahib and installed therein their Holy Book, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This was the first Sikh Gurdwara Sahib to be established in Penang. There was no Granthi at the Gurdwara Sahib, but serving police personnel used to do sewa (service) and perform the duties of a Granthi.
In 1896, a detachment of the newly formed Malay States Guides which consisted of many Sikh police from the disbanded First Battalion Perak Sikhs (1884 - 1896) was stationed at Fort Cornwallis. Every Sunday morning, the Sikh Sangat (congregation), consisting of the Straits Settlements police, the Malay States Guides personnel and Sikh civilians, used to hold prayers, which commenced with the Asa Di War Kirtan. Jormelas were held on all the major religious occasions. Even some of the British personnel used to hold a jormela upon their departure and make a small donation for the Gurdwara Sahib fund.
In 1927, the headquarters of the Straits Settlements Police was built in Patani Road, Penang. A building was also allocated to the Police Sikh contingent personnel to be used as a Gurdwara Sahib.
On 28' December 1927, the Sikh Sangat and police personnel assembled at Fort Cornwallis. The Holy Book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, was carried on a palanquin. Police personnel led the procession followed by the Sikh Sangat. Various kirtan jathas accompanied the Holy Book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, singing religious hymns in praise of God. Both sides of the road were packed with visitors and local residents of Penang. The procession wound through the streets before finally arriving at the new Sikh Police Gurdwara Sahib in Jalan Patani. An Akhand Path (48 hours of continuous reading of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) was held immediately and concluded on 30" December 1927. All police personnel donated one tenth of their salary for the jormela. Many other Sikhs donated cash as well as provisions for the Guru Ka Langar.
In 1962, this second Sikh Police Gurdwara Sahib building was demolished to make way for new police barracks. DSP Sardar Darshan Singh and other police pensioners held several meetings with the relevant government officials. Finally, the Home Minister gave his approval for the present site (52 feet by 32 feet) in Jalan Patani to be used as a Gurdwara Sahib for Sikh Police Personnel. This Gurdwara Sahib. a single storey brick structure, was built under the supervision of the Police Works Department. The cost of this building was RM15,000.00 out of which RM10,000.00 was donated by the Government. This new third police Gurdwara Sahib was officially declared open on 29th August 1968 by Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee, the Chief Minister of the State of Penang.
The first Granthi cum honorary caretaker of this Gurdwara Sahib was the late Sardar Gurbax Singh, a police pensioner who served from 1968 to 1984. Since 1988, Sardar Mehar Singh Gill, a retired Police Sergeant, has been doing sewa as Granthi / Caretaker / Honorary Secretary as well as an Assistant Sikh Registrar of Marriages.
The Management Committee comprises of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, their assistants and six committee members.
Presently, there are about 30 Sikh families of serving as well as retired police personnel who participate in the religious activities in this Gurdwara Sahib. The usual weekly prayers are held on Sunday morning from 7.30a.m. to 8.30a.m. Prayers are also held on the Sangrand day from 6.00p.m. to 8.00p.m. Other jormelas are held at the request of Sikh police families.
Sikh Gurudwaras in Malaysia&Singapore
Saran Singh Sidhu AMN,PNM,FRNS
68, Jalan Patani / Jalan Cheah Choo Yew, George Town
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