M A I N   N E W S

Malaysia denies ban on Indian workers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 8
Malaysia has not banned the recruitment of Indian workers as reported by a section of international news agencies, Malaysian minister S. Samy Vellu clarified here today.

Vellu, cabinet minister of works, who is attending the Sixth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, told newspersons that there was no truth in the reports emanating from Kuala Lumpur.

“I just spoke to my Prime Minister, minister for human resources and the secretary-general of home affairs. There is no truth in the reports,” he said at the Vigyan Bhavan conference complex after participating in a session on investment and infrastructure.

“There is status quo. Reuters report (about the ban) does not have the approval of the Malaysian government,” Vellu maintained.

Minutes later, minister for overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi said he believed Vellu’s version of what was threatening to become a new sour point in India-Malaysia relations.

“We will go by what the Malaysian minister has said just now. Since he has said there is no truth in the report, let us believe him,” Ravi told newspersons.

Vellu’s hurried clarification came hours after international wire services reported that Malaysia, hit by ethnic Indian protests, had banned the recruitment of all workers, professionals included, those from India and Bangladesh, two countries which account for a large group of expatriate workers.

The report had cast a shadow over the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, India’s annual conclave to engage with its 25 million diaspora in over 130 countries. Malaysia has the largest delegation of 130 members, led by Vellu, a frequent visitor to India.

News reports from Kuala Lumpur earlier quoted an unnamed Home ministry official as saying that the Cabinet decided to suspend the recruitment of workers from India and Bangladesh about two weeks ago. According to the reports, the ban would have taken effect from December 31, 2007.

The report also came as Indian defence minister A.K. Antony was wrapping up a visit to Malaysia during which the two countries decided to boost their military ties, notwithstanding the recent friction over the protests in Malaysia by Tamils alleging discrimination and the condemnation by Indian politicians of the crackdown on the protesters.



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