Indian diaspora convention opens up at Kuala Lumpur

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Singapore, Dec 16: The Ninth convention of Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), highlighting the achievements of Indian diaspora worldwide including Malaysia, has opened up at Kuala Lumpur.

Indians have considerable presence in 110 countries and have contributed immensely in social and economic development of these nations, said the president of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president S Samy Vellu yesterday. Speaking at the opening of the three-day convention, he called for an effective networking, partnerships and collaborative actions between people of Indian origin around the world.

''We can strategically build effective networks and partnerships within us for global advantages,'' said Mr Vellu, who is also Malaysia's Works Minister, and one of the oldest cabinet ministers representing some two million ethnic Indians in the government.

Mr Vellu noted that the Indian diaspora has excelled in education and professional capacities, economic and business ventures,political and civil society activities.

''In doing so, it has contributed greatly to the nation building in their respective lands where they participate as active and responsible citizens,'' he said.

''In the past, People of Indian Origin (PIO) were stereotyped as diligent service providers, such as teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors and nurses. Over the last 50 years, they have emerged as successful entrepreneurs and have provided leadership in a few sectors in their respective nations,'' the Malaysian national news agency Bernama quoted Mr Vellu, as saying.

More than 1,000 people of Indian origin from all over the world are attending the three-day convention that began yesterday.

Among foreign political leaders present were Sri Lanka's Community Development Minister P Chandrasekaran, Estate Infrastructure Deputy Minister Muthu Sivalingam and Constitutional Affairs Deputy Minister Jagetheswaran, and Justice and Human Rights Minister Jayarama Valayden of Mauritius, according to Bernama.

GOPIO is a grouping of southern Indian origin diaspora.

The Indians, especially the Tamils, were recently under eye of storm due to their recent protest in Malaysia damanding equal political, social and economic opportunities.


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