9 Badass Facts About Gobind Singh Deo, Malaysia's First Sikh Federal Minister
In addition to charting history with Malaysia's first female Deputy Prime Minister, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has also appointed the country's first Sikh federal minister in Gobind Singh Deo
The Puchong Member of Parliament (MP) was officially sworn in as Malaysia's new Communications and Multimedia Minister yesterday, 21 May, alongside 12 other core Cabinet members under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration.
Gobind, who has been involved in politics for a decade, has done some pretty bad-a** things prior to becoming a federal minister. Here's a brief look at his background:
1. He is the second son of late DAP leader and legendary lawyer Karpal Singh a.k.a. the Tiger of Jelutong
Out of the late Karpal Singh's five children, four of them are involved in politics.
In the 14th General Election (GE14), Gobind's elder brother Jagdeep Singh Deo won the Penang ADUN seat for Datuk Keramat for the third time, while his younger brother Ramkarpal Singh retained the Bukit Gelugor parliament seat previously held by their father.
Meanwhile, according to The Star, their sister Sangeet Kaur is serving as Wanita DAP international secretary and Selangor Wanita DAP deputy chairman.
2. He has been practicing law since 1996, and has continued to do so even after being appointed as Puchong MP in 2008
Gobind holds a Bachelor of Law degree from UK's University of Warwick and was even admitted to the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn as a Barrister-at-Law.
One year after his return to Malaysia, he was admitted to the Malaysian Bar in 1996, serving in his father's law firm Messrs Karpal Singh and Co. until 2006. In the same year, he set up his own firm Messrs Gobind Singh and Co. in Kuala Lumpur, which he is still heading till this day.
4. Elected as Puchong MP in 2008, Gobind is fondly referred to as the "little Tiger of Puchong"
In 2015, Gobind found himself ejected from Parliament again after questioning Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia's decision to reject a motion by then Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng to debate toll price hikes.
5. He was once suspended from Parliament for 12 months for calling then Deputy PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak a "murderer"
On 16 March 2009, in addition to being suspended from Dewan Rakyat, Gobind was also stripped of his salary and allowance as MP for 12 months after alleging that Najib was involved in Altantuya Sharibuu's murder during a parliamentary debate.
However, Parliament was later ordered to pay Gobind what was owed to him after the High Court ruled that the federal government had no power to withhold payment of his salary and allowance as MP.
6. As per his father's wishes, Gobind represented Teoh Beng Hock's family pro bono in their negligence suit against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)
Teoh, a journalist and political aide to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on 16 July 2009, over two weeks after he was taken into MACC custody for questioning over allegations of corruption on 1 July 2009.
Gobind took on the case on behalf of DAP's National Legal Bureau. After a six-year legal battle, MACC finally admitted their negligence and agreed to pay Teoh's family RM600,000 in damages and RM60,000 in legal costs.
7. In 2012, Gobind famously saved a Singaporean woman from a death sentence after she was caught with heroin and other drugs in her bag at the Sepang airport
According to Straits Times, single mother Noor Atiqah, then 26, was charged for drug trafficking and sentenced to death after being caught with 370g of heroin and other drugs in her bag at the Sepang airport budget terminal on Jan 5, 2009.
The charge was later reduced to possession of drugs after Gobind produced new evidence to support her claim that she was unaware of what was in the bag. She was sentenced to 12 years in jail instead.
8. Most recently, Gobind represented Rafizi Ramli and Lim Guan Eng in their respective trials
Gobind served as Rafizi Ramli's defence counsel when the then Pandan MP was charged under the Official Secrets Act for leaking the 1MDB audit report in 2017, and again in February this year when he was charged for defaming Tabung Haji on his blog.
Gobind also formerly served as the lead counsel in current Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng's corruption trial before it was taken over by his brother Ramkarpal.
9. Aside from being the first Sikh minister in Malaysia, Gobind is also recognised as the first Sikh minister in Asia outside of India
Gobind Singh Deo clocked into his first day as a federal minister this morning alongside the rest of the core Cabinet ministers: