External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee assured Parliament on Friday that India would take up with Malaysia the issue of alleged mistreatment of people of Indian origin (PIO) in Kuala Lumpur and critical remarks by a Malaysian minister against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
Asked by some members in the Lok Sabha about Malaysian Minister Nazri Aziz's remark against Karunanidhi, Mukherjee said "He (Karunanidhi) is a great respected national leader. I have already said that we are looking into related matters."
Mukherjee made the statement in both Houses of Parliament responding to the concern expressed by the MPs regarding the alleged harassment of participants of a rally, which was organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force in Kuala Lumpur on November 25. He said the government remained "deeply solicitous" for the welfare of PIO living abroad. "We have friendly relations with Malaysia and we are in touch with the Malaysian authorities in the related matter."
Outside Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government is concerned whenever Indian citizens and PIO are in trouble anywhere in the world. "This is a matter which concerns us. Whenever people of India run into difficulties, it is a source of concern," Singh told reporters when asked to comment on the developments in Malaysia.
In Chennai, acting Malaysian High Commissioner to India Norlin Ochman said both countries had not yet interacted on the issue. "Everything has been highlighted only in the media," she said.
Karunanidhi had on Thursday joined issue with Aziz, who criticised him for expressing concern over the condition of Tamils in that nation.
Karunanidhi said he had not criticised the Malaysian Government, but only urged the PM to take steps for protecting the Tamils in Malaysia.