Malaysia dismisses report on ban on Indians

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New Delhi, Jan 8: Malaysia today dismissed as ''not true'' media reports that Kuala Lumpur had suspended recruitment of workers from India and said they (Indian workers) were welcome when they were needed.

''There is no such thing. The report is not true,'' Malaysia's Cabinet Minister for Works, Dato Seri S Samy Velu, said here on the sidelines of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conference which he is attending. Mr Samy Velu, who was Chief Guest at PBD session on 'Investment and Infrastructure,' told reporters after the session that he had spoken with the Malaysian Prime Minister, Secretary General of his country's Home Ministry and also the Human Resources Minister, and was told that there was no such thing.

A Foreign News Agency reported from Kuala Lumpur earlier in the day that Malaysia had suspended the recruitment of workers from India and Bangladesh. The ban took effect on December 31, 2007, the news agency said quoting Malaysian Home Ministry officials. The report added that those already in the country, would not have their work permits renewed.

It also said the (Malaysian) cabinet had decided to freeze the intake of workers from India and Bangladesh, about two weeks ago. Maintaining that there was ''status quo'' the Malaysian Minister reiterated that there was ''no truth in the report released by...'' he said while naming the news agency. Later a Malaysian government official told to the sources that the agency should identify the Home Ministry sources that it is quoting.

Minister for Overseas Indians Vayalar Ravi, who was also with the Malaysian Minister while he spoke with reporters, said the Minister (Malaysian) should be believed. 'The Minister (Malaysian) is right. Let us believe that. You can't believe...(the news agency),'' Mr Vayalar Ravi, who was visibly upset at the queries put to the Malaysian Minister, said. Mr Samy Velu declined to answer any more questions, specifically on the recent demonstrations by Indian population in Malaysia and the subsequent crackdown on them that nearly sparked off a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Earlier in his address at the PBD Session, the Malaysian Minister highly appreciated the role of global Indian diaspora which had much to offer not only to diaspora communities but also to their nations. ''India has a huge reservoir of resources. It is currently strategically placed globally and its intellectual dynamism has much to offer not only to diaspora communities but also to their nations,'' he said.

The Malaysian Minister described the global Indian diaspora as a very unique pool of human resources with a variety of expertise, competencies and experiences which can be a tremendous potential for India to tap upon to sustain India's economic growth and social well-being. He said the Malaysian delegation had always taken these global gatherings seriously as opportunities to strengthen partnerships and collaborations for mutual benefit.

He offered private sector investment from Malaysia in building road infrastrure in India and said he had already made the suggestion to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. He had also proposed investment in several roads in Delhi to ease traffic congestion, he said.

The Malaysian Minister said his government was also planning to set up pre-fabricated housing units in Delhi and Chennai and had made the suggestion to the Delhi Chief Minister. Delhi still needed 800,000 houses, he said.

He demanded meaningful discussions and concrete action on his suggestions after the conference. Malaysian contractors could play a role in developing infrastructure here, he said adding that after the session, there should be further interaction.

''We don't want to come here again and again and talk...All suggestions can be recorded and followed up,'' he said. Pointing out that India urgently required world class infrastructure in critical areas like roads, ports, railways, airports electrical and water supply plants, Mr Samy Velu said the synergy between Malaysia's capacity and capability in infrastructure development and India's trained world-class workforce would bring the best results.

He said Malaysia was prepared to invest 70 per cent of the cost in creating a super highway for India. This would be private sector investment that could be mobilised in Malaysia with strong governmental support.''Such a venture will result in tremendous employment and development opportunities throughout India,'' he added. The Minister said Malaysian contractors and investors would also be able to play a significant role in transforming India's infrastructural landscape.


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