Jagdeep Singh Deo, the heir to the legacy of Malaysia’s esteemed legal luminary, the late Karpal Singh, has etched his name in history by assuming the role of Penang’s Deputy Chief Minister II (DCM II) today.
Having secured his fourth term as the Datok Keramat assemblyman with an impressive majority of over 8,000 votes, he sees this as the dawn of a new chapter in his journey.
Jagdeep is now overseeing the portfolios of human capital development, science, and technology, in Penang. He says a new learning curve stands before him after 10 stellar years in heading the state housing and local government portfolios.
“An exco member holds a ministerial position within the state. Today marks my third term as a minister, and now, as the deputy chief minister, I become the first Sikh to hold this position in the state, and possibly the nation,” he said in a press conference after being sworn in.
“Nevertheless, I am DCM for all – regardless of your background or belief,” he added.
Being Sikh no barrier to DCM II role – Jagdeep
“MIC was once led by a Sikh”– DCM II Jagdeep Singh Deo
In response to a suggestion that the DCM II position he now occupies was intended for someone of Tamil descent, Jagdeep promptly dismissed this notion.
The Penang DAP vice-chairman said that the concept of the deputy chief minister II position was originally formulated and endorsed by his late father, Karpal Singh, to advance the interests of the Indian community.
“Being a Sikh should not stop me from embracing this role. We must remember that the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) was once led by a Sikh leader. Moreover, history reminds us of a Sikh prime minister governing all of India. Let’s rise above racial distinctions. My purpose is to serve the entire populace,” he said.
Jagdeep was referring to Budh Singh, affectionately dubbed the “Gandhi of Malaya,” who played a pivotal role as a founding member of the MIC, serving as the party’s second president from 1947 to 1950. He is celebrated for his efforts in securing Malayan citizenship for Indian migrants ahead of the Merdeka movement.
Manmohan Singh served as India’s 13th prime minister for two terms spanning from 2004 to 2014.