Trip to Chennai a tribute to Malay Indians: Malaysian PM

Sunday, January 24, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has said that he deliberately chose to visit Tamil Nadu on his first official visit to India, because 85 percent of Malaysian Indians can trace their roots to the state.

The Prime Minister said his trip to the Tamil heartland was in recognition of the contributions made by the community to Malaysia’s development.

“It may be a small gesture but it is a heartfelt, and I hope, meaningful one. I am proud to be the first (Malaysian) PM to visit here,” he said at a dinner hosted for the Malaysian business community and students in Chennai on Friday night.

Najib said he was touched by the warm welcome given by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the people of the state, adding that he was also surprised to see so many posters and banners welcoming him and his wife Rosmah Mansor.

“I do not know who put up the posters but they certainly look like I’m standing for elections here,” The Star quoted Najib, as saying.

Najib, who spent four days in India before his visit was cut short by the demise of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail, said it was a fruitful mission in many aspects, including the enhancement of bilateral trade and investment ties as well as people-to-people links.

He said like India, Malaysia was undergoing a transformation and to succeed, the country should not look back but move on progressively, adding that others were catching up and even surpassing Malaysia.

Najib called for “wholeheartedness” from all communities to accept the changes taking place, stressing that the philosophy of 1Malaysia was to provide a sense of belonging to all.

The Prime Minister said he recognised that while Indians in Malaysia could trace their cultural or religious roots to India, they had no other country to call home, except the one that they were born in. (ANI)

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