KUALA LUMPUR: Gobind Singh Deo, an Indianorigin Sikh politician in Malaysia, has become a cabinet minister, the first member of the minority community in the country’s history to be appointed as a minister.
Deo, 45, who has been given the communications and multimedia portfolio, is among the two politicians of Indian descent included in the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s Cabinet.
The other Indianorigin lawmaker is M Kulasegaran from the Democratic Action Party, who has been made the human resource minister.
Deo represents Puchong constituency in the Malaysian Parliament and is the son of late Malaysian lawyer and politician Karpal Singh. He was sworn in during a ceremony at the National Palace yesterday after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad included him in the new cabinet.
He was first elected as an MP in the 2008 general elections. Deo was reelected to the lower house, with an increased margin, in 2013 and he again won this year’s election with a margin of 47,635 votes.
The Punjabi community in the country has hailed the appointment of Deo as the minister.
“It is good to see Gobind Singh, a member of the Punjabi community in the cabinet. It is a proud and happy occasion for our community. Other than being a recognition of his abilities, it is also a recognition for the long established Punjabi community in Malaysia,” Miri Indian Association president, Councillor Karambir Singh was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post.
Malaysia has nearly 1,00,000 Sikh population.