It was a sureal experience for Jagjit Singh, a Johor Bahru-born son of a watchman, when he stepped into an international conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
Jagjit, a former judge appointed as a Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) commissioner in April this year, was humbled to represent Malaysia at an United Nations (UN) conference last month.
“As I was seated at the conference, I did reflect on my own personal journey. How fortunate for this Johor Bahru boy to be taking part in such an event,” he told Asia Samachar when met in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Jagjit represented MyCC at the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy meeting, organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), between July 5 and July 7.
SEE ALSO: Former Malaysian judge Jagjit Singh made Competition Commisioner
Jagjit is the third of six siblings. His late father, Bant Singh, worked as a watchman at the Jabatan Kerja Raya (JKR), a government works agency, in Johor Bahru. Bant was born in Ramuwal in Moga, Punjab. His mother, Pritam Kaur, was a housewife. She was born in Jagroan, India.
While Jagjit is now based in Kuala Lumpur, his family is very much rooted in Johor Bahru, the state capital of Johor, and just a hop away from Singapore. Until their end, his parents lived in Johor Bahru, popularly called JB.
“God has been kind to my family. My parents brought us up the hard way. We went through difficult periods during our younger days. All these are Guru Ji’s blessings,” said Jagjit. “They were so proud when I was appointed magistrate in 1988.”
Two of his brothers – eldest brother and gynecologist Dr Jarnail Singh and fourth child Dr Harbans Singh – run private medical practices in Johor Bahru. Younger brother Jasbeer Singh retired as a JKR technician. His two sisters, Harbans Kaur and Rajinder Kaur, moved to the UK after their marriages.
Jagjit’s father was awarded the state medal, Pingat Ibrahim Sultan, by the Johor Sultan for his services to the state agency. “I drove him to the Palace on that day,” he said.
Jagjit holds a Bachelor in Laws (Hons) and Masters in Law from King’s College, London.
He retired last year from the government service after 38 years in the judicial and legal service. He had served as a magistrate, senior federal counsel, assistant parliamentary draftsman, deputy treasury solicitor, legal advisor to the Ministry of Health, Deputy Public Prosecutor and Sessions Court Judge in Kuantan, Seremban and Kuala Lumpur.
As a Sikh, he said he was proud to have drafted the “No Smoking” laws when he was the Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Health.
Smoking is highly frowned upon by Sikhs, counting as one of the four bajar kurehat or things to abstain when a Sikh takes the Khalsa initiation.
He is also the founding partner of Jagjit Ariff & Co and went on to make his mark as a criminal and preventive detention lawyer.
Jagjit has written two books, “Practical Approach to the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights” and “Civil Procedure.”
Upon his retirement, he was appointed as an independent director of Tokio Marine Insurans Bhd.
Jagjit was recently appointed as a member of the appeal board of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) now led by Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, popularly referred to as Tunku Mahkota Johor (TMJ).