Wednesday, January 09, 2008

SAMY in a SPOT over Ban of Indian workers as reported by Reuters; Was it another U-turn to Retract Ban; Tried to explain Hindraf Controversy

UPDATE: Thursday January 10, 2008
Karunanidhi snubs Samy

NEW DELHI: Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has been snubbed by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. The MIC president has failed three times to make appointments to meet up with the latter during his current visit to India. “I believe he felt slighted that I did not defend him when Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz told him off and asked him not to interfere in the internal affairs of Malaysia in the aftermath of Hindraf's illegal demonstration,” he said. Samy Vellu said he was not present to defend Karunanidhi at that time and what Nazri said was to safeguard the good name of the country.

He added that he was unhappy with Karunanidhi’s attitude. Samy Vellu, who is Works Minister, said the bilateral relationship between
Malaysia and India would not be affected by allegations made by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) in November last year. He said this was based on the positive response of various Indian leaders to his explanation on Hindraf's allegations. “All of them received the explanation well, with the exception of Karunanidhi. He had already made up his mind that whatever Hindraf said was right,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here yesterday. He said Hindraf had planted many sensitive issues in the minds of the Indian people with the intention of poisoning Malaysia’s name.
“I have been explaining over and over again but the Indian press seems to have made up its mind that there is unrest amongst the Indian community in the country
,” Samy Vellu said. He said a member of the People's Progressive Party (PPP) had been giving interviews to the Indian and international media, giving credence to the allegations made by Hindraf. “The statement by the PPP member as well as the wire agency story on the freeze on Indian workers in
Malaysia has created a big wave in the media here,” he said. He added that he would explain the situation to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Samy Vellu said he would submit a detailed report to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi upon his return on Saturday
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Samy urges Indian universities set up campus in M'sia

B. Suresh Ram
NEW DELHI (Jan 9, 2008): MIC president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu today urged universities in India to open campuses or branches in Malaysia to provide more options to both local and foreign students seeking tertiary education. "They should take advantage of the the burgeoning demand for tertiary education in
Malaysia," the Works Minister stressed.

"They have the best educational experts and it could be put to better use as many Malaysians wanting to further their studies in India were put off by the high costs of education," he added. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the second day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Samy Vellu also said Indian students currently studying in campuses in India could also opt to study in their branch in Malaysia and it would be a good learning experience for them. He said the MIC-owned Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) has received a proposal for a tie-up with an Indian management institute to offer business administration courses in Sungai Petani.

"The institute would set up its branch in AIMST campus and provide the three-year degree course," he said. He said there had already been applications from 150 students from India to attend the course even before it has been finalised. Meanwhile, Samy Vellu said that several meetings with Indian leaders are likely to open up more opportunities for Malaysian companies to make inroads in infrastructure projects in India. He said apart from the road, housing and monorail projects which were discussed with New Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit yesterday, the Chief Minister of Gujurat Narendra Modi has also indicated that he is keen on Malaysian companies to undertake infrastructure projects in the state.
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Updated: 07:02PM Wed, 09 Jan 2008

UPDATE: from STAR; 8.40pm

From Mohd Radzi, it can be deduce WHO are these employers that are now discriminating further the employment of Indian nationals

Wednesday January 9, 2008; MYT 8:40:35 PM
No freeze on intake of workers from India
PUTRAJAYA: There is no freeze on the intake of Indian foreign workers, confirmed Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad. However, he said, there were employers who had asked for the ministry’s approval to change the foreign workers they had planned to hire from
India to those from other countries. “I categorically state that the ministry has never come up with such a ruling or policy to stop the intake of foreign workers from India, what more the professionals. The report by a foreign wire agency claiming the ministry has done so is disturbing. “But let us be honest here. As a result of the demonstrations that had taken place, some employers feel uncomfortable employing workers from India even though they have already been given approval to take in the workers. “Then they come to us and request to, for example, employ Indonesians instead, and we allow them to do so,” he said in obvious reference to the demonstrations by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), adding that the ministry had allowed several employers who had initially asked for workers from India to switch to workers of other nationalities.

Radzi also said the confusion might have stemmed from the Government’s decision in October last year to once again freeze the intake of workers from Bangladesh due to several problems. The Government, in 1999, had frozen the intake of Bangladeshi workers as a result of the social problems that had arisen from their presence in the country. He said he had briefed the Cabinet on the issue and had called for a press conference to “clear the air,” adding that he was confident the matter would not strain relations between Malaysia and India and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries on the issue of Indians working in the country remained valid. On claims his ministry had stopped issuing permits for new applications for Hindu priests, temple musicians and sculptors, Radzi clarified that applications would be considered on case-by-case basis as the number of foreigners working in temples in the country has reached 5,468.

“Some of the priests have been in the country for more than 10 years and it is time for us to sit down and look at whether it is necessary to renew their permits. We want locals to do the job and I am sure there are qualified individuals for the job. “Furthermore, this does not apply to Hindu priests only but to Buddhist monks, Muslim ulamaks or imams and religious figures of all religions,” he said, adding that the decision to be more “stringent and careful” started about two months ago.

Radzi said that since November, those wanting to employ foreign workers had to go through the Human Resources Ministry, which would advertise the vacancies and if there were no takers an approval letter would be issued for employers to come to his ministry to apply for foreign workers. “This is an effort to ensure most employment opportunities are taken up by locals and the hiring of foreigners from the 10 source countries, including India, are done in a more orderly fashion. "We must remember that there are about two million foreigners working in the country and the number is substantial,” he said.
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ABOVE & BELOW: PM Abdullah welcoming the Indian Defence delegation leed by Defense Minster A K Anthony

Samy Vellu was put in a spot when questioned in India over the Reuters reports about the Ban on Indian and Bangladeshi workers. He had to phone back to seek clarifications and denied it. How could Reuters an experience wired agency churn our reports that are "false" or wrongly quoted. There must be a U-turn over the decision. Samy Vellu had a hard time convincing reporters there as he said there were "no hard evidence" connecting the Hindraf leaders with the Tamil terrorists in Sri Lanka and action was based on “suspicions

the Tamil terrorists in Sri Lanka and action was based on “suspicions

Regrettably the ISA was applied against the Hindraf 5 based on belief & suspicion and & not the truth. As a matter of fact Mr Uthayakumar was laughing at the allegations and he had declared:‘We have got zero links with terrorism. We have got zero links with LTTE. We do not support violence. We are a non violent group” As a matter of fact he had made a symbolic police report ( 9 Dec 07) against the PM, the IGP and AG and as expected “no action” was taken.

ABOVE Indian Defence Minster and BELOW: Being met by DPM Najib

The most surprising thing is that the local media has not reported the visit of the Indian defense delegation in Malaysia over the last few days.

ABOVE & BELOW: the Russian jets

Malaysia needs the help of the Indians in training the personnel for the Russian Jet fighter and the French submarine both of which are also in use by the Indians.

ABOVE & BELOW: The French Submarines, the so called for "strategic" defence use

January 08, 2008 23:28 PM
No Truth In Malaysia Suspending Hiring Of Indian Workers - Samy Vellu

By P. Vijian

NEW DELHI, Jan 8 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has not suspended recruitment of workers from India, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said today. Denying a wire agency report today that Malaysia has suspended hiring of workers from India, the MIC president said he contacted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Home Ministry secretary-general oday to get a clearer picture on the issue. The issue caused a controversy at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference here. peaking to a horde of reporters on the sidelines of the conference, Samy Vellu said: "I spoke to the Prime Minister and the Home Ministry Secretary-general. The statement is not true. There is no truth in the Reuters' report." Concurring with Samy Vellu, India's Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar avi, who is also attending the conference, said there was no truth in

the report. Earlier today, a Reuters report from Kuala Lumpur, citing unnamed Home inistry officials, said Malaysia had suspended recruitment of workers

from India and Bangladesh, a ban that came into effect from Dec 31.


Samy Vellu: No ban on Indian workers

From K. Harinderan in New Delhi, India

WORKS Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was mobbed by the press just as he finished speaking on economic and infrastructural development at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2008 meeting here. Samy Vellu, who was a guest speaker at the event, was approached by some 50 newsmen, including camera crew, who had been kept waiting for him to respond to an article flashed by Reuters. Te article quoted an unnamed Home Ministry official as saying that Malaysia had suspended the recruitment of workers from India and Bangladesh since Dec 31.

Several other ministry officials were also reported to have confirmed the ban without providing a valid reason.Members of the press, mainly from the Middle East, India and Bangladesh, blockaded the exit of the Vighan Bhavan Convention Centre after having waited for hours for a statement from Samy Vellu. In answering the questions by the press, he denied all claims based on a quick phone conversation with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. These claims have been refuted," said Samy Vellu, adding that there was no truth to the article. Meanwhile in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) claimed that the Immigration Department had stopped issuing work permits to new applications for foreign priests, temple musicians and sculptors. The council's president, Datuk A. Vaithilingam, said further enquiries by parties showed that the restriction extended to all Indian nationals.

He said the department had also given final renewal permits of six months for priests, three months for temple musicians, and one week for sculptors, after which they would have to leave the country. This decision has caught us by surprise. After all, there are so few priests, musicians and sculptors here. They are only a tiny dot out of the few hundred thousand Indian workers based in Malaysia." He estimated that there were about 180 Hindu priests, 100 musicians and between 200 and 300 sculptors working here. "This is an unprecedented move as the department had previously always had discussions with the council before any change in the system," he said. Immigration Department director-general Datuk Wahid Md Don declined to comment on the issue, saying it was a policy matter which should be referred to the Home Affairs Ministry.

M'sia bans intake of India, Bangladesh workers

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA has suspended the recruitment of workers from India and Bangladesh, the government said on Tuesday, in a move one official said could be linked to a recent uproar about Malaysia's treatment of ethnic Indians. Te ban, which took effect from Dec 31, 2007, could further strain relations between the two countries after some Indian politicians sympathised with ethnic Indians who said they have been marginalised by the Malay-majority government. 'The cabinet decided about two weeks ago to freeze the intake of workers from India and Bangladesh,' a Home Ministry official told Reuters. existing workers from the two countries would not have their work permits renewed, he said, adding that the ban applied to all categories of workers including professionals. Other ministry officials confirmed the ban but did not give a reason. Indians make up about eight percent of the two million registered foreign workers in Malaysia. They are mainly employed in the construction, information technology and financial services industries in Malaysia. Relations between India and Malaysia have been hurt by recent allegations of iscrimination by the ethnic community in this South-east Asian country. Ethnic Indians held a mass anti-government protest in November, alleging that the authorities have sidelined the community because of an affirmative action policy that favours the majority ethnic Malays. Some Indian politicians, including Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, expressed concern about the treatment of ethnic Indians in Malaysia. Around 7 per cent of Malaysia's 26 million people are ethnic Indians, whose forefathers were brought to the South-east Asian country as labourers by British colonial rulers. – REUTERS

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January 08, 2008 17:08 PM
India Wants To Seal Labour Pact With Malaysia Soon
By P. Vijian
NEW DELHI, Jan 8 (Bernama) -- India Tuesday expressed its keenness to seal a labour agreement with Malaysia to safeguard its workers' welfare,mostly those employed in the informal sector. India's Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said an estimated five million Indian workers are now working abroad, mostly in the Gulf states and Malaysia. To safeguard their welfare, the Indian government had signed bilateral instruments with the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar on labour employment. "A similar agreement in principle with Malaysia has already been reached and I hope to be able to sign it soon. I'm confident that we will conclude and sign similar bilateral labour agreements with Oman and Bahrain this year,"

Vayalar said at the 6th Privasi Bharatiya Divas here today. Indian workers are the third largest foreign workforce in Malaysia, numbering almost 140,0000, mostly engaged in the restaurants. India is a major labour exporting country in South Asia besides Nepal and Bangladesh, and in 2006 Indian migrant workers around the globe remitted home a staggering RM90 billion. In his address, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government would start a nationwide skill upgrading training programme for potential migrant workers.

"The scheme targets training of nearly two lakh (200,000) emigrant workers over the next five years. This will help create a strong cadre of highly skilled workers," he said. Close to 1,500 delegates from nearly 50 countries are participating in the three-day annual Indian diaspora conference Speaking to journalists after the opening of the conference, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu suggested that India send more of its education experts overseas. "India has a large number of experts in the education field and it should disperse them overseas to help other countries."This will help students who can't afford to come here to study," said Samy Vellu who is Malaysian Works Minister.

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Samy cool under fire; B. Suresh Ram

NEW DELHI (Jan 8, 2008): MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was today grilled for about 30 minutes by the Indian media over recent reports alleging the marginalisation of Malaysian Indians, but the veteran politician kept his cool. He was bombarded with questions on the allegations made by the Hindu RIghts Action Force (Hindraf), which organised the Nov 25 rally in Kuala Lumpur, the validity of such allegations and how the government was handling the matter.

Other questions were on temple demolition and the Nov 25 demonstration which led to a number of arrests, including several under the Internal Security Act. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2008, a conference and meeting involving the Indian diaspora across the globe, Samy Vellu took pains to entertain the questions and to explain the actual situation in the country, as well as what the party and the government were doing to address these problems. He explained that the Indian community in Malaysia has come a long way since the country achieved independence and the allegations of Hindraf, which is an illegal organisation, are not true. Throughout the interview session, he never lost his cool. Samy Vellu, who is leading a delegation of 75 members including 15 members of the media, said the government had created many opportunities for Malaysian Indians over the years.

“The government is seriously looking into it. The claim that they are being marginalised is being looked into,” he said. Samy Vellu said he had submitted a working paper to the Cabinet on this matter, especially covering employment and education. “We have submitted several working papers. We don’t go to the street to demonstrate,” he said. He also said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had assured the community that their grievances would be entertained. He also denied that the country faced unrest over the alleged marginalisation of the Indian community. “A simple demonstration of 10,000 people does not mean unrest. Unrest means the whole community gets together and causes problems.” The MIC is also distributing copies of a booklet titled "Malaysian Indians – Then & Now" outlining the history and development of the community in the last 140 years to the 1,500 delegates of the conference as well as the Indian media. The 20-page booklet also contains the Indian community’s representation in the government and civil service, education, Tamil schools, tertiary education skills and industrial training, religion, economy as well the percentage of Malaysian Indians among registered professionals and the country’s work force.
07:09PM Tue, 08 Jan 2008

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Anonymous southpaw said...

i'd rebuke samy and say,

"beware of ministers who will exploit the rakyat (malaysians) for their own monetary gain."

tell me this is well said!


4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malaysia has indeed instituitionalised apartheid against Indians and more than one state policy is its evidence as is experience of Indians who have lived there. If they dont want our workers let them also not have our tourists. Government of India as a policy had banned travel by Indians to South Africa until that country changed its policy. Malaysians must be subjected to similar denial in a swift and sure move. It is time that we as a Nation assert our pride at our own initiative and not wait for international community's lead.

RE: Apartheid in Malaysia

Dear Editor,

Even during my brief professional stint in Kuala Lumpur, it soon became evident that ethnic Indians were subjected to discrimination. It is indeed a "colour" issue. In Malay mind, Indians are "dark skinned". North Indians including Sikhs do OK and that's why there are no barbs like "Pakis". Whites, yellows, and light browns is indeed the prevalent pecking order. Malaysia has acquired the veneer of a "first world" country as a stated national goal and while declaring ethinc cleansing would be politically disastorous, discouarging darker shades to surface is certainly on, in a country conditioned by colonisation and currently emulating Arab model of native nepotism.

The best way to urge Malaysians to introspect and "right" the wrongs is to boycott tourism to the country. Jago India, Jago !!. Indian passports were specifically stamped to prohibit travel to South Africa, to support the same cause. Malaysia, too, is practising apartheid.

Naveen Sood

10:17 PM  

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