Sikhs have made significant contributions to Singapore: Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has praised Sikhs for their “significant contributions” to the multi-racial country. Speaking at the official opening of SGD 12 million renovated Singapore Khalsa Association or SKA last night, Tharman said the Sikh community has gone beyond serving its own. He said Sikhs in Singapore have always stood tall in the multi-racial community, and have made significant contributions to the society. “The Sikhs are proud Singaporeans. And Singapore is proud of their roles in our multi-ethnic nation,” he said, acknowledging the minority community’s contribution in business, politics, military, sports and professions like law, medicine and civil services. The association, which began in 1931 as a humble club for cricket, hockey and football, has evolved into a network hub, 70 per cent of which is being used by non-Sikhs for celebrations, business meetings and corporate annual general meetings. The SKA, the venue for annual celebrations of rich Sikh heritage and tradition at the Vesakhi mela, continues to attract more Singaporeans of other races to the premises, observed the Deputy Prime Minister.
The six-storey club house on the outskirt of the city centre, conducts classes in Tamil, Hindi and Punjabi as it works in the field of education with other state-funded institutions. SKA president Mohinder Singh said the SGD12 million newly renovated clubhouse is designed to “meet current and future needs” of the community at large. Singh said: “We hope the enhanced building provides the ambience to attract both the young and old, families and friends from not only the Sikh community but the Singapore community which use the SKA for their events.”
The SKA club features include ballrooms, a dance studio and a glass-cladded gymnasium facing the Blastier plain, hub of cricket and hockey pitches of the Indian Association, Chinese Recreational Centre and Ceylon Sports Club. Singapore has over 13,000 Sikhs amidst some 500,000 people of Indian origins in a multi ethnic population of over 5.3 million.