Speech by CE at opening ceremony of new Sikh Temple (English only) (with photos/video)

     â€‹Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at the opening ceremony of the new Sikh Temple today (November 8):
Mr Nirmal Singh (President of the Sikh Temple, Hong Kong), Dr Harry Banga (Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Sikh Temple, Hong Kong), Mr Gurdev Ghalib (Convenor of the Building Committee of the Sikh Temple, Hong Kong), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     It is my great honour to join you here today for the much anticipated grand opening of the new Sikh Temple in Hong Kong. I would like to start by offering my sincere congratulations to all who have been involved in this spectacular achievement.
     This impressive building is of significant importance to the local Sikh community. Sikhs laid down roots in Hong Kong in as early as the 19th century. Recognising the need for a place where the growing community could gather, local Sikhs built the city’s first and only Sikh temple right where we are now. 
     After decades of wear and tear, the old building neared the end of its service life, and redevelopment began in 2017. I am sure all of us are delighted to see the successful completion of the new temple today, and every bit of the five-year wait has been worthwhile.
     With the temple revamped, Khalsa Diwan Hong Kong will have better hardware to provide a diverse range of services for Sikhs and non-Sikhs in Hong Kong, from religious services and educational programmes, to sports events and cultural activities. Very much like its Langar community kitchen, which provides some 5 000 free meals a week to the visitors, the temple is sure to continue opening its doors to the wider community, carrying on the Sikhs’ active role in contributing to the city.
     Hong Kong is known for being an open and inclusive city. The protection of freedom of religious belief is enshrined in the Basic Law.
     Speaking today at this momentous occasion for our Sikh community, I would like to reaffirm to you all the Government’s commitment to building a caring and inclusive Hong Kong for all. Hong Kong is the home of all its people, regardless of race, religious belief, family background and occupation. Harmony is what brings success to our home.
     That is why I have dedicated a chapter in my Policy Address on working together to safeguard harmony and stability. We will set up District Services and Community Care Teams across the territory in due course to promote community building through organising caring activities such as visiting the elderly. We will also enhance our efforts in public healthcare, elderly care and youth development.
     On behalf of the Hong Kong SAR Government, I would like to express my appreciation to Khalsa Diwan Hong Kong for its sterling contribution to the city over the years. The new temple heralds a new chapter for the local Sikh community, and is set to benefit Hong Kong’s Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. 
     Congratulations once again on the opening of the new Sikh Temple. I wish you all very good health. Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:30