||February 29, 2008
February 29, 2008A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
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GOPIO WRITES TO MALAYSIAN PM REGARDING MALAYSIAN INDIANS
a February 22, 2008 letter addressed to Prime Minister Honorable Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia, GOPIO International expressed
its continuing concern of the hardships faced by Malaysians of Indian
Origin. The entire letter is reprinted below.
February 22, 2008
Hon. Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Sub: Malaysians of Indian origin
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
were brought to Malaysia during the British rule to work on rubber
plantations, and since then, they have been contributing to the economic growth
and prosperity of Malaysia. Today, there are two million Malaysians of
Indian Origin who constitute about eight percent of your country's
population. But these Malaysians of Indian Origin lack fair and equal
treatment in educational resources and job opportunities. Consequently,
a significant number of them work as plantation and/or urban underpaid
laborers, and hence majority of them are poor and continue to face
undue social and economic hardships.
is well known that Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has been an integral
part of your government's ruling coalition and that the MIC must be
claiming to represent the interests and aspirations of their ethnic
community. However, Time Magazine reported in 2000 that Indians had the
lowest share of the nation's corporate wealth: 1.5%, compared to 19.4%
for Malays and 38.5% for Chinese. The highest rate of suicide of any
community is among Malaysians of Indian Origin, and gangsterism and
violent crime are largely associated with that community. Some 15% of
the Malaysians of Indian Origin in the capital, Kuala Lumpur are
squatters. Since then, these statistics have not changed much.
Obviously, MIC as your Coalition partner has not been able to get fair
share for their minority community as their role as coalition partner
appears to have been rendered ineffective or irrelevant.
two million Malaysians of Indian Origin are your country's third
largest ethnic group and majority of them are considered to be at the
bottom of the social and political ladder. The country got independence
in 1957, but the poor Malaysians of Indian Origin have been deprived of
their fare share of the prosperity which independence has brought to so
many of your countrymen. Malaysians of Indian Origin continue to be economically
marginalized and sidelined and are generally seen as providers of cheap
labor in plantations and construction sites. Thus, for lack of
educational and economic opportunities, they occupy the bottom rung of
the Malaysian modern society. Your cabinet colleague, Deputy Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, while opening a one-day MIC
special convention for branch chairmen at the Putra World Trade Centre
on February 3, 2008, admitted that there were legitimate aspirations
and grievances among the Indian community.
Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) urges you and
your government to be cognizant of the simmering discontent of a large
and significant segment of your Malaysian Indian community and request
you to promptly take all necessary steps in granting them fair
treatment in all affairs of state. Such action as would provide equity
and equal opportunities, we believe, would help to alleviate the
present condition facing the Malaysian Indian community.
formed in 1989 at the conclusion of five day convention of people of
Indian origin in New York, is a non-partisan, non-sectarian, US based
global organization with chapters in several countries. GOPIO, since
inception, has been actively promoting the interests of people of
Indian origin (PIO) worldwide by monitoring and addressing critical
issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication
between groups of PIOs living in various countries.
|MALAYSIAN EMPLOYERS ABUSE FOREIGN WORKERS
Malaysian economy is booming and many employers hire contract foreign workers from
Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. The Malaysian government
has received hundreds of complaints from workers where the employers do
not pay wages or make unfair deductions from worker's salary. The labor
department has assured that the employers who are found cheating their
workers will be prosecuted. The department has already
rescued two Tamil women dance teachers and sent them back to India on
hearing their complaint for non-payment of wages and physical abuse by
is acute shortage of priests of different faiths also but the
government is restricting their import. Malaysians of Indian origin do
not want to join the profession and India has been the only source of
supply. The restriction for recruitment of priests from India is
causing major concern among the Malaysian Indian community.
|DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN NRI, A PIO AND AN OCI
2 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA) defines a person
resident in India and a person resident outside India but does not
define the term NRI. However, a notification defines NRI to mean a
person resident outside India who is either a citizen of India or is a
person of Indian origin. Under FEMA, a person "resident" in India is
one who resides in India for more than 182 days in the preceding
financial year and who comes or stays in India for any purpose and a
"non-resident" is merely defined as a person who is not a resident in
India. Therefore, an NRI can be summed up as an Indian citizen who is ordinarily residing outside India and holds an Indian passport.
PIO: It means a foreign citizen who at any time held an Indian passport; or he/she or
either of his /her parents or grand parents or great grand parents was
born in and was permanently resident in India; or he/she is a spouse of
a citizen of India or of a person of Indian origin. PIO card holders
can visit India without visa for 15 years and will be required to
register with Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) in India when the
stay exceeds 180 days continuously. PIOs enjoy parity with NRIs in
respect of certain facilities but have no political rights and can
apply for Indian citizenship after residing in India for a minimum of
foreign national who was eligible to become a citizen of India on
January 26, 1950, or was a citizen of India on or at any time after the
said date or belonged to a territory that became part of India after
August 15, 1947 and, his / her children and grand children are eligible
for registration as OCIs. They enjoy multiple entry multipurpose life
long visa for visiting India, are exempted registration with FRO/police
authorities for any length of stay in India and are entitled to
benefits notified under Section 7 B of the Citizenship Act. An OCI
registered for 5 years and residing in India for one year can be
granted Indian citizenship but have no political rights.
/ PIOs are permitted to open bank accounts in India out of funds
remitted from abroad, foreign exchange brought in from abroad or out of
funds legitimately due to them in India. These accounts can be opened
with banks authorized by the Reserve Bank of India and there are three
types of non-resident accounts:
Non-Resident (External) Rupee Accounts (NRE Accounts)
Ordinary Non-Resident Account (NRO Accounts)
Foreign Currency Non-Resident (Bank) Accounts (FCNR (B) Accounts
(Courtesy: Anil Malhotra, Advocate, Chandigarh)
|OIFC ORGANIZES A MARKETPLACE AT THE PBD
Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) organized a Market Place at the
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2008. Around 900 delegates, mostly from the
United States, Gulf and South East Asia, attended the market place.
the market place, experts from all areas such as Real Estate, Wealth
Management, Taxation, FDI, Education, Small and Medium Enterprises,
Philanthropy (Education, Health, Wildlife, Rural Development, Women
Empowerment) , Tourism and State Specific Interests, were present
to address all sorts of queries raised by the NRIs & PIOs on the
the philanthropy desk, the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
specialising in the fields of Health, Education, Rural Development,
Women Empowerment and Wildlife were available. They responded to the
queries related to various issues in social development. This would
help in enhancing the qualitative as well as the
quantitative efficiency of the NGOs serving the nation.
is a 'one stop shop' for the Overseas Indians with the Objective of
promoting Overseas Indian Investment in India, facilitating
Business-to-Business Partnerships between Indian Business and Overseas
Indians and extend a host of advisory services to the Indian Diaspora.
OIFC is a not for profit Trust and is a Public -Private Partnership
between the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
|MAURITIUS PM RAMGOOLAM VISITS HIS ROOTS
Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam, accompanied by his wife Veena and his delegation, began
a three-day visit to Bihar on Monday, February 18, 2008. He was given
tumultuous welcome at the airport by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his
deputy S K Modi, several ministers and the top brass of the bureaucracy.
Prime Minister Ramgoolam unveiled a larger-than-life-size bronze statue of his father, Sir
Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, at Gandhi Maidan, Patna. Sir Seewoosagur
Ramgoolam was the first Premier of Mauritius, and served the island
nation from 1961 to 1982. His father, Mohit Ramgoolam went to Mauritius
in 1871 as an indentured laborer. Prime Minister Ramgoolam visited his ancestral village Harigaon in Bhojpur district, where he was
received by an enthusiastic crowd. He announced a grant of $250,000 for
the building of roads and a hospital in his ancestral village.
Wednesday, February 18, 2008, Ramgoolam visited remains of the ancient
Nalanda University and the Buddhist holy city Bodh Gaya. He was also
briefed on the proposed Nalanda International University. During his
three day visit, Prime Minister Ramgoolam spoke in Bhojpuri in all his
meetings. He also announced scholarships for two students from Bihar
and offered them an opportunity to study in the University of Mauritius.
THIRTEEN MORE PERSONS MASSACRED IN GUYANA
the heels of the recent massacre of 12 persons in Lusignan in Guyana,
thirteen persons were murdered in Guyana on February 17, 2008 when heavily
armed gunmen wrecked havoc in the town of Bartica on the Essequibo
coast, killing five policemen and seven civilians. It was reported that
a gang of heavily armed gunmen stormed the Bartica Police station
shortly before mid-night and killed five policemen. The gunmen then
went on a wild shooting spree along First Avenue in Bartica killing at
least seven civilians. Several other Barticians are reportedly
hospitalized at the Bartica hospital.
ruling People's Progressive Party (PPP) has deplored the brutal
massacre of thirteen innocent, unsuspecting people at Bartica on Sunday
evening, stating that "this cowardly assault was intended to engender
terror and fear in our society". The main opposition People's National
Congress Reform (PNCR) has described the shocking Bartica killings as
"brutal, senseless and horrific".
Three persons were arrested and are in custody for questioning in the murders: Antonio Devon Jones, called 'Beaks' a boat operator; a Bartica farmer known as 'Rasta Plimpler', and
a third man known as 'Rogo-Rogo.' The men, who were being kept at the
Bartica Police Station, were transported to the capital of Georgetown.
Last month, GOPIO had expressed strong and unequivocal condemnation of the execution-style murders of eleven Guyanese of Indian.
FUND RAISING FOR VICTIMS AND RELATIVES OF MASSACRED IN GUYANA
The Kaiteur News (firstname.lastname@example.org) newspaper
publication of Guyana has initiated a fund raising effort for the
victims and relatives of the massacre that took place in Lusignan on
January 25, 2008.
encourages the PIO/NRI community to make contributions for this cause.
Persons wishing to make a contribution to this fund can do so as
Canada & USA: Teshwana Lall at +1-347-247-3198
UK (London): Jean Bacchus at +44-794-840-4078
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO SETS UP TASK FORCE COMMITTEE ON NRI PROPERTY & INVESTMENT ISSUES
very pressing problem relating to NRI/PIO Property Investments, Scams
and Associated Issues was discussed and deliberated at a dedicated
seminar at the GOPIO Convention 2008 in Delhi last January. A
resolution on INVESTMENTS IN PROPERTIES & DISPUTES was presented to
the Government of India with a request to enact legislation to
designate "Fast Track Courts" for NRIs/PIOs for the speedy settlement
of the NRI's property issues.
resolution was also published in GOPIO Bulletin on Feb 5, 2008 and in
many newspapers serving the global Indian Diaspora. Since the
publication, GOPIO is flooded with enquiries and heart rending stories
of NRIs/PIOs who have lost their properties and/or are in courts to
view of the gravity of the situation, GOPIO has constituted a task
force committee to pursue with the Government of India to take timely
steps to amend relevant laws to protect investments of NRIs/PIOs who
have already invested or are planning to invest in India. The members
of the committee include Lord Diljit Rana, UK, Prof. Subhash C. Sharma,
USA, M.M. Mahehshwari, USA, Barjinder Sodhi, Germany, Ved Prakash,
Delhi, P. H Parekh, India, Jagdish Vatsa, Delhi, and Ranjit Malhotra Chandigarh.
Diljit Rana will be the chairman while Prof. Subhash C. Sharma and M.M.
Mahehshwari will be Co-Chairs. Members of the Indian Diaspora are
encouraged to communicate with Prof. Sharma by email at email@example.com.
|NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
JAILED HINDRAF LEADER TO CONTEST FOR MALAYSIAN PARLIAMENT
Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has traditionally been representing the interests and aspirations of the two million-plus Malaysian Indian community. MIC is headed by S. Samy Vellu who is Minister of Works in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. Minister Vellu will be contesting for a ninth term as nominee of the MIC and the Barisan Nasional. MIC will field nine candidates for the parliamentary elections including two new faces. For state assembly seats, MIC will have nineteen candidates, six incumbents and 13 new faces.
Action Party (DAP) is a major opposition party in Malaysia and is
headed by a prominent Malaysian Sikh leader Karpal Singh, a lawyer and
current Member of Parliament. The DAP has members of all the three
major groups - Malays, Chinese and Indians and is fielding seven
candidates including Karpal Singh and the jailed Hindraf leader M.
Manoharan in the March 8 elections in Malaysia. The party is also
contesting 18 state seats. DAP Chief's son Govind Singh Deo, 35, will contest for the state legislature.
MINIMUM WAGE PROPOSED FOR INDIAN WORKERS IN BAHARAIN
Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry (MOIA) which organised a meeting of
the heads of Indian missions in the Gulf region, has proposed a minimum
monthly wage of Bahrain Dinar (BD) 100 (Rs 10,481) for all new
employment contracts from March 1 for unskilled Indian workers. The
contract must be signed by the Indian Embassy before any new worker
leaves India for Bahrain. The unskilled workers are also entitled to
free transport and accommodation under the Bahrain's laws.
present, there are about 275,000 Indians working on contract basis in
the country's booming construction industry. The going rate for
unskilled workers is 60 to 75 BDs and the employers are
likely to hire workers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan
rather than from India if they have to pay the hire rate. Enforcing the
new minimum wage can worsen the prospects of hiring of Indian workers.
Due to a dispute with India over labor contract rules, Kuwaiti
government has also stopped giving visa for Indian workers since
Gulf nations are however having an economic boom and there is heavy demand for construction workers. An
Indian businessman, Ravi Pillai, managing director of the Nasser S
Al-Hajri Corporation (NSHC) which has presence in Qatar, UAE, Saudi
Arabia and Bahrain, recently announced the hiring of 20,000 employees
from India of which 5,000 will be engineers. The $2.5bn company already
has 25,000 Indians out of 35,000 on their payroll. Pillai received
Pravasi Bhartiya Saman from the president of India last January.
INDIAN EMPLOYERS TO HIRE SRI LANKANS
Indian companies, facing shortage of skilled, semi-skilled and
unskilled workers in India, have started recruiting personnel from Sri
Lanka. The Indian economy is booming and domestic labor force is unable
to meet the growing demand. To attract foreign workers, the employers
in Tamil Nadu are offering Dubai-type salaries.
present, Indian workers rush to get jobs in the Middle East where the
demand for both skilled and unskilled workers keeps soaring. Sri
Lankans and Bangladeshis also flock to the Gulf countries to meet the
unending demand for labor. The Indian companies will have to pay
competitive wages to attract domestic workers to stay in India.
US COURT SUMMONS FOR NON PAYMENT TO INDIAN EMPLOYEES
Pickle, owner of John Pickle Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, hired 52
welders and fitters from India with promise of good salaries,
accommodation, food and green cards. However, on arrival in the US,
their passports were taken, given makeshift shanty places to sleep,
rationed limited amount of food and were paid $2-$3 per hour. They
however managed to leave the factory and filed lawsuit in 2003. In
2006, the judge found the John Pickle Company guilty of fraud, false
imprisonment and civil rights violations and ordered the owner to pay
compensation of $1.3 million.
Pickle closed the company, transferred the assets to relatives and
never paid any part of the award to the plaintiffs. Last October, the
plaintiff's attorney asked the judge to void all transfers of
properties to third parties and place a lien against properties and
assets until the judgement is satisfied.
In the meantime, many of the victims succeeded in getting T visas which is given to the victims of human trafficking.
NEW IMMIGRATION RULES COULD AFFECT SOME INDIAN DOCTORS IN UK
per the new Immigration rules, from March, doctors living outside the
European Union will not be eligible to apply for jobs through the High
Skilled Migrant Program (HSMP).
April 1, skilled Indian doctors - so-called Tier 1 migrants - will no
longer be able to apply for higher medical training jobs under the new
points-based immigration system. However, those Indian doctors who are
already in Britain under the HSMP scheme would be able to apply for
training and jobs and will be treated at par with British and European
the new rules could disadvantage India-born doctors who are already in
Britain on work permits rather than on HSMP visas. If they convert to
HSMP visas after Feb 29, they will not be considered at par with British and European doctors.
GUYANESE PIO DOCTOR AT FOREFRONT OF CANCER CARE IN GRENADA
oncologist Dr Carl Niamatali is the driving force behind a cancer care
programme set up in Grenada in the Caribbean with a $1 million donation
from telecommunications giant Digicel. Dr Niamatali previously
practiced in the New Amsterdam area in Guyana and was previously the
secretary of the Berbice Medical Council
Niamatali said the National Cancer Registry will cater to the needs of
countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, at the
launch of the programme last Friday. He pointed out that
persons seeking treatment for cancer do not have the luxury of time.
The clinic improves the quality and delivery of care to patients and
most of the cases treated in Grenada are breast cancer cases. More than
300 patients have already been treated at the clinic and plans are in
train to expand the service to ensure that every Grenadian has early
access to world class cancer treatment right at home, the report said.
|GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.
GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.
GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (www.gopio.net) and get details of chapter initiation (visit http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:
GOPIO President - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: 818-708-3885, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPIO Executive Vice President - Lord Daljit Rana, UK, Tel: +44 28-9807-8787, Email: email@example.com
GOPIO Secretary General - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit http://www.gopio.net/membership_form.htm, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.
GOPIO welcomes the following new Life Members:
Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)
Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO General Secretary (New York, USA); and Munish Gupta, GOPIO Media Chair (Los Angeles, Calif)
Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Gurgaon, Haryana, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)
Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (USA) and Dr. Subhash C. Sharma (USA)
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail: email@example.com
Visit GOPIO's Official site at www.gopio.net or www.gopio.com