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40,000 Indians "Missing", Says Malaysian PM

PTI 11 Jan 2010, 23:12:41 PM IST

Nearly 40,000 Indians, mostly from Tamil Nadu are "missing" in Malaysia after the expiry of their tourist visas, Malaysian Premier Mohd Najib Tun Razak said on Monday  amid indication that he may take up the issue with New Delhi during his forthcoming visit to India. 

"Almost 39046 are missing. Thankfully they have not become terrorists. They are here for economic reasons," he said, adding that "their names are not in official records." 

"They may have gone back to India or working here in restaurants or plantations," Najib told visiting Indian journalists here. Most of the missing Indians in Malaysia belong to Tamil Nadu. 

Najib is planning to take the issue of visa arrival. He also indicated that visa on arrival services could again be re-stareted from metros like Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi but not from Chennai due to problem of overstayers from the city. 

"I will probably mention it during my visit to Chennai. It is not a government issue. People decide on their own. We would like them to visit Malaysia but the problematic area is Chennai." 

"We want Indian people to visit Malaysia as tourists. We have been quiet liberal. We want genuine ones. They are most welcome," Najib, who leaves for a three day official visit to India on January 19, said.  He cited it as a reason why immigration was not keen on visa on arrival from there. 

As far as Malaysia is concerned we want both the countries to resolve the issue. We don't want to interfere. we respect the sovereignty of each nation," Aman underlined.  With regard to the rise of extremism in the region, the Foreign Minister expressed concern over the issue.

He said it was a very serious issue and Malaysia was concerned with the trend.  Malaysia and India are seeking to deepen their political and economic ties as they push for a FTA.  "We want to conclude it by the end of this year. 

I will rise the issue (with Indian officials) during my visit," the prime minister said.  He said his visit to India will be "substantive and not purely ceremonial. "It will enhance Malaysia's political and economic relationship with India," the prime minister said.  

Razak will be accompanied by one of the biggest delegations comprising eight ministers, five chief ministers and business leaders.  The Prime Minister said Malaysia wants to work with India in education sector and in upgrading skills of IT graduates.  He said there was a huge potential of tourists coming to Malaysia from India and said it was because of the burgeoning middle class. PTI