JOHOR BAHRU, 20 Oct – The man who took cricket to the Felda schemes in Johor before the Kancil Programme “Catch ’em Young” policy went nationwide, Dato Dr. Harjit Singh is dead at the age of 70 when he succumbed to complications at the National Heart Institution (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur on Monday following heart surgery.
The cricket legend breathed his last at about 11.45pm at IJN after a heart surgery and leaves behind his wife Kaldip Kaur, a retired nursing sister from Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Bahru and two sons – Dr Rajinder and Gurdeep, both of whom reside in Australia.
While Malaysian cricket is mourning the sudden demise of Dato Dr. Harjit, his passing is also felt by the many NGOs who looked upon him for help when it was needed most in time of the deed, especially the needy.
Who can forget the affable Dr. Harjit as his affability put many at ease no matter what the situation was and he never said “NO” to anyone.
Johor Hockey Association president Dato Manjit Majid Abdullah summed up Dr. Harjit’s sudden death as a “big loss” at all levels as he was very much involved in grooming young talent some of whom went on to don national colors.
”His dedication and passion for sports were second to none. He will be missed and it must be remembered he was the house doctor for the annual Sultan of Johor Cup International (Under-21) tournament since its inception in 2011,” said Dato Manjit.
It was Dr. Harjit who took the ‘bat and ball game’ to schools in the Felda schemes with his Kancil programme.
He made it a ”game of passion” among the newcomers and indirectly it became a matter of time before the Malay students were earning the accolades – thanks to Dr. Harjit.
Son of former engineer, the late Meva Singh who was a well known Selangor and Kilat Club cricketer, Dr. Harjit himself played for Johor and the national team. During the annual Saudara Cup between Malaysia and Singapore played in the republic, Dr. Harjit broke his leg while fielding and this was in 1980.
Former international cricketer K. Ramadas, who has worked with the Johor Cricket Council since 1989, is devastated by Dr. Harjit’s passing.
“Dr. Harjit is the one who brought me to work with him and he has been my boss since then. There are no words to describe his humbleness and I never saw him raise his voice against anyone even in anger,” said Ramadas.
Datin Jennifer Williams from Sarawak, who once arrived in Johor Bahru for the SOJC on official assignment without her medication had this to say: ”Such a nice man and I remember one year I forgot to bring my medication and he (Dr. Harjit) sorted it out for me. May his soul rest in peace.”
The long serving Dr. Harjit has been the president of the Johor Cricket Council (JCC) since 1987 and is the longest serving head in any sports association in the country – something which will be difficult to emulate by the present generation.
He also served the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) as the deputy president from 1990 to 2003 and was in charge of development which was closest to his heart.
For his contributions to the sport Dr. Harjit was inducted in the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Hall Fame in 2017. He was also a three-time winner of the Johor Sports Leadership Award – in 1989, 1995 and 2007.
Cricket will also remember him for building the first cricket academy in the Southeast Asia which is located in Mutiara Rini on the outskirts of the booming Johor Bahru City.
Dr. Harjit had a big hand in bringing the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup which was played at the academy in 2008.
While studying medicine in India, Dr. Harjit, who studied at the famous English College (now known as Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar) in Johor Bahru, played for Ranchi University and Dhanbad district in the local tournaments in India.
Tributes also poured in from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah and His Majesty Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Sultan Iskandar.
“Please convey my condolence to the family”
– KDYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“A very nice man. Condolences to the family, he took care of me when I was unwell in Johor Bahru during the late Almarhum’s time. Thank you and salam”
– Tengku Muda Pahang,  Tengku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Sultan Ahmad Shah.

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