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Malaysia frets about its missing Indians

world Updated: Jan 13, 2010 23:58 IST
Anirban Choudhury

On his maiden visit to India next week, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, 56, wants to discuss the mystery of Indians who go missing from his country.

According to Razak, Malaysian government records indicate that more than 39,000 people arrived from India and did not return.

“Many Indians, particularly from Chennai, are arriving on work permits and just vanish. For this, we had to stop the visa-on-arrival facility for all Indians,” Razak told a team of journalists from India.

People of Indian origin, mostly from south India, comprise about eight per cent of Malaysia’s population of more than 20 million.

The son of a former Prime Minister, Razak has served the government in such capacities as Deputy PM, Defence Minister and Finance Minister. So, the seasoned politician wants to tread cautiously during his visit to India from January 19 to 23.

Razak assumed office in April last year and wants to show his liberal self in ushering in massive economic growth.

He communicates on Facebook and Twitter on government actions to encourage transparency and is in a hurry to forge strategic alliance with powerful nations.

He knows what India means to the rapidly growing economy of Malaysia. “My visit will not be a ceremonial one, it will be substantive as a lot is to be gained from both sides,” he asserted.

By 2050, China will lead the multi-polar world, followed by India, Razak said, adding, “No one can deny the strategic growth India and China are scheduled to gain in the near future.”

Razak wants to give a push to the proposal for a Free trade Agreement with India and wants India and China to participate in the economic community of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“I want more Indian investments in Malaysia,” Razak said, as Malaysia is set to sign more than 10 memorandums of understanding with India.