N29 – DATUK KERAMAT
Rising up for the nation
Growing up as the son of a living icon is both a bane and a boon. Especially if the man is respected lawyer and DAP National Chairman, Karpal Singh. Yet, Jagdeep Singh chose to follow in his father’s footsteps to learn the craft as a lawyer and later, DAP’s State Assemblyperson for Datuk Keramat.
“In 1978, Karpal Singh came back to Penang to contest, I was only 7 years old and joined the campaign. I collected and pasted election materials and posters on the walls. With no internet back then, we had to print about 50,000 cards asking voters to vote for us,” Jagdeep recalls.
After he grew up, Jagdeep joined DAP in 1994. He says that his father never forced him into politics and it was his personal decision to stand. His maiden campaign attempt at the Bukit Gelugor state seat in 1999 was unsuccessful as the DAP’s disastrous Barisan Alternatif pact crumbled.
In 2008, Jagdeep won the Dato Keramat state seat. He believes that while the 2008 political tsunami was won mainly on BN’s weaknesses, the next election will be about whether or not the PR government can deliver.
Jagdeep considers one of his greatest triumphs to be settling the flood problems in Jalan P.Ramlee. Under the previous BN government, flood mitigation programs never saw the light of day.
After taking over as state assemblyman, Jagdeep proceeded with settler relocation and oversaw works to deepen and widen Sungai Dodol. This reduced the frequency of floods in the area.
“I hope the people can judge for themselves if I have been performing and addressing the issues. I have been very active in implementing what I have promised and I hope to be returned to continue my work for the people.”
Jagdeep believes that Putrajaya is within sight for PR but it must not be taken for granted. Especially since UMNO has gone extreme with its racial rhetoric and shows no sign of letting up. Jagdeep’s strategy is to continue solving constituent’s problems and standing up for the people’s rights in the State Legislative Assembly.
Family time is scarce for Jagdeep, but he manages to juggle his time. The tireless commitment that politicians give to the people is often at the expense of their individual families. This is an unfortunate but necessary sacrifice as the priority of DAP representatives are definitely the people.