Role of Keralites in Malaysia lauded

May 8th, 2009 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Taiping (Malaysia), May 8 (IANS) A Malaysian minister has praised the role of settlers from India’s Kerala state in boosting the Southeast Asian nation’s rubber industry and asked others of Indian origin to work together to make their mark in their adopted home.
“As the third largest (ethnic) group, we (of Indian origin) should be able to achieve success if we work with one common aim and goal,” Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam was quoted as saying by the Tamil Nesan newspaper.

Inaugurating the 34th annual conference of the All Malaysia Malayali Association (AMMA) here Thursday, the minister lauded the settlers from Kerala for working hard and making a valuable contribution to Malaysia’s rubber industry.

He said it was important for the ethnic Indian community to remain united despite differences in faith and language so that the government would pay attention to their requests.

Immigrants from Kerala are a small group compared to the Tamils, who form the bulk of the over two million strong Malaysian Indian community.

While labourers were the most significant immigrants from Kerala, there were others who came to fill up other posts.

“Many young middle class Malayalis came during the 20th century to dominate private sector posts with European firms. Their asset was having a good command of the English language. Thus, they were usually employed as conductors, clerks and hospital assistants,” says the AMMA website.

“All of them went back to Kerala to look for wives and returned with them. Most of them also brought along their relatives to fill up vacancies that arose in their plantations.

“As families expanded, they began to take firm roots in Malaya, deciding to settle here for good,” it adds.

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