Born in 1942 to Punjabi parents in Japanese-occupied Malaya, Gurmit went on to found two pioneering NGOs — Environmental Protection Society, Malaysia (EPSM) and Centre for Environment, Technology and Development, Malaysia (CETDEM). At various national and international fora, Gurmit not only put forward the Malaysian perspective, but also spoke up for the ‘third world’ and the global good.
Gurmit’s achievements have been many, and recognition of his work has spread within the country as well as abroad. And these achievements, especially in controversial areas like environmental protection, have won him praise as well as resistance from the authorities over the decades of the nation’s formation and swift economic growth. It is for the readers and historians to appreciate and comment on his impact and contributions to this multicultural nation. Despite his tumultuous relationship with the authorities, he was conferred the Langkawi Environmental Award in 1993.