Good afternoon and welcome to all delegates who are present here to participate in the topic “Overseas Indians and India”.
Indians in Malaysia number around 2 million. We are all PIOs.
Singapore has about 300,000, Thailand about 135,000 and Indonesia has about 55,000.
Malaysia has one of the largest PIO populations. Our ancestors left the shores of India in the 1800s and 1900s.
I am a first generation Malaysian Indian. I still have very deep roots in the South India.
What I would like is for India to give more attention and focus to the people of Indian origin. Not much attention is given to the PIOs in the South East Asia.
When I read the Indian newspapers and hear all the speeches, including in the opening ceremony, there is hardly any mention of PIOs.
We, Malaysians Indians, have progressed. We have produced thousands of doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants, teachers and academics.
Our Prime Minister has introduced many new schemes and programmes to help the Malaysian Indians.
But there is still a group of disadvantaged people amongst Malaysian Indians.
We like the Indian government to collaborate with us in empowering the disadvantaged group. Professionals in the medical and legal fields and our business people to strengthen our links and collaboration with India.
We want more Indian leaders to visit us regularly.
We want the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to increase its contacts with us.
India is renowned throughout the world for its ICT industry. We want India to assist and take us to higher levels in the ICT sector.
India is also a super-power in the game of cricket. At one time cricket was also a very popular sport in our country.
We want Indian cricketers to begin coaching our youngsters and bring back the glory we had before and beyond.
Whenever I visit India, I am impressed with the fineness of Indian craft produced by its cottage industries. We would be happy if India could send its cottage industry-related experts to train our people, especially the Malaysian Indian women.
In short we are looking at empowerment and collaboration in the areas of Education, Teacher’s training, Business and Trade links, ICT, the development of sports especially cricket and in the areas of skills training, agriculture, biotechnology and new innovations.
If we look at China, the Chinese diaspora is very close with China in the areas of businesses development, education and medicine collaboration.
Their roots in China are almost lost. All their new roots are in South East Asian countries.
But we, Malaysian Indians, still have links with India but it is purely on religion and culture. We have no links in the other areas I have mentioned earlier.