India 'suitably conveys' its concerns on Indian Malaysians

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New Delhi, Feb 28 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said India had ''suitably conveyed'' to the Malaysian authorities its concerns regarding the neglect of people of Indian origin residing there.

In his written replies to questions of Mr Pyarelal Khandelwal and J D Seelam, in Rajya Sabha, the minister said 1.9 millon of the Malaysian population were of Indian origin accounting for eight per cent of the total population. It was also the third largest ethnic group in that country after Malays and Chinese.

The country officially celebrated the customs and traditions of multi-racial population. People of Indian origin were active in Malaysian society, economy and polity including the government.

However, these members had articulated their concerns and grievances regarding their standing in Malaysia. The Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) had organised a rally in Kuala Lumpur in November 2007 with the purpose of seeking support of Queen Elizabeth II for a class action suit filed in the UK for exploitation of Indians brought to Malaysia as indentured labour.

The leaders in the rally had highlighted their concerns regarding the economic and social conditions and religious rights of Indian community. The Government in Parliament had made a suo motu statement in Parliament after the MPs raised the issues of alleged harassment and HINDRAF rally in November 2007. The Government remained deeply solicitous for the welfare of people of Indian origin in Malaysia who constitute a large community in that country, the minister said.

He said Malaysian Prime Minister Abullah Ahmad Badawi had a meeting with representatives of several Indian NGOs and he had briefed the representatives about the steps taken by his govenment to uplift economic and social standing of the Indian Malaysian community. The NGOs too had pledged to work with Mayalsian government for betterment of the Malaysian Indian community.

Replying to Mrs Kanimozhi, DMK, the minister denied that there was delay in transporting mortal remains of Indians in Gulf region.

The bodies were transported in about a week to ten days, which appear normal considering the completion of local formalities. Immeditely after the receipt of information about the death of Indian workers, the Indian Missions of Gulf region initiated action to facilitate transport of the bodies.

UNI MCN MSJ GC1529

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