Malaysian Sikh leader's sons to contest election

Updated on Feb 18, 2008 04:22 PM IST
Jagdeep Singh is likely to field a state seat in Penang while Gobind Singh for parliamentary and state seats in Johor/ Selangor.
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IANS | By, Kuala Lumpur

Karpal Singh, a prominent Malaysian Sikh leader, may ask two of his four sons to fight the upcoming parliamentary elections, the media reported on February 18.

Karpal Singh, a lawyer and an MP, heads the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP). Sikhs constitute a distinct Indian-origin group in Malaysia, located especially in the peninsula region and are estimated to number about 100,000.

Although Karpal Singh declined to disclose if his sons Jagdeep Singh Deo, 37, and Gobind Singh Deo, 35, have been confirmed as candidates, he indicated that both could be fielded, The Star newspaper said.

"They are both strong potential candidates," he said, adding that the party's selection committee would take the final decision.

Jagdeep Singh is likely to be fielded in a state seat in Penang while Gobind Singh may contest parliamentary and state seats in Johor or Selangor.

Karpal Singh, who turns 68 in June, said he was proud that his two sons were following in his footsteps.

"There is bound to be a lot of propaganda about nepotism but if someone is a leader's son, it does not mean he has to be left in the cold. It is wrong to penalise the sons because of their fathers," he said.

"I don't think relationship should be a prime consideration. Each person has his own ability and should have equal opportunity."

Jagdeep Singh and Gobind Singh are also concerned about claims of nepotism, and stressed that they were not acting on their father's instructions, the newspaper said.

They said they did not contest in the 2004 election as the family's priority then was to concentrate on getting their father back into parliament after his loss in 1999.

Karpal Singh is also expected to contest the Bagan parliamentary seat instead of defending his Bukit Gelugor seat.

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