Karamjit Singh is the top rally racer in Malaysia and was named National Sportsman of 2002. But why is the ‘Flying Sikh’ changing course to an e-hailing stint?
The Covid-19 pandemic has slammed the sports industry and it severely affected the National hero’s life tremendously. Furthermore, the government’s concern about the plight of Karamjit clashed with the expectations that he will continue to make the nation proud.
Karamjit‘s tale raises more concerns as to why the government has sidelined major performers in the motor rallying field. After being crowned as the World Champion during the 2002 FIA Production Car World Rally, he qualified for a monthly pension.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports had verbally proclaimed Karamjit As A World Rally Champion with a Monthly pension of RM5,000 in 2005.
Deputy Youth and Sport Minister, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal had approached Karamjit to discuss his condition. He stated, “Insya-Allah me and KBS will give our best commitment so that we can all see the Malaysian Rally Champion on the track again.”
Karamjit‘s interview with FMT reflected pain, frustration and despair in his search for a better life.
At 58, he’s already a Rally champion but he’s disappointed because his legacy is forgotten.
“There is no age limit in rally racing,” he said adding that he hoped to race in the Malaysian Rally Championship in Terengganu next February.
Karamjit said Malaysia has not been in the world rallying map since 2012 and that he intends to race on the gravel, tarmac and wet tracks for the next five years.
“Sponsorship is all I want, so I can make Malaysia proud,” he said.
This week, the icon made news after revealing that he was an e-hailing driver to tide over tough times, coupled with the blistering impact of Covid-19 on sports.
“I sold my 16-year-old manual Proton Waja for RM7,000 and expect to hit the e-hailing track with my new Proton Saga next Wednesday.”
He said e-hailing vehicles must be under the age of seven. Meanwhile, he drives his sister’s car for the time-being. Soon after he sold off his car, he wrote on Facebook: “Farewell my dear Waja. You served me well. New owner, please jaga baik-baik (take care of the car) ok.”
Karamjit said he preferred to earn extra income as an e-hailing driver, because his current employer, VX Garage, like many businesses, is trying to cope with the pandemic pressure.
He said he joined VX Garage as a technical director in 2017 because of its quality automotive products and was indebted to the company for having sponsored his rallying pursuits.
“While the future is bright for the company, I need the extra income to tide over tough times,” he said.