Malaysia’s Miri Indian Association turns 70


Miri (Malaysia) : Deepavali this year has special significance for the Indian community settled in this eastern state of Malaysia as the Miri Indian Association is now 70 years old.

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Indians, mainly from Punjab, came here during the colonial era to help in oil exploration.

They want to trace their roots and contributions towards the development of Sarawak state to make this Festival of Lights truly meaningful, The Star newspaper said Thursday.

The Indians in Miri advanced their Deepavali celebrations by a few days to coincide with the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Miri Indian Association.

Association president Karambir Singh, who is also Sarawak Indian Association vice-president, said: “It is time to trace our historical origins; how the Indians came to this state and the many significant contributions that the community has made towards the development of Sarawak.

“The Indians have been here since the early days of oil and gas exploration. We also played an important role in the peacekeeping forces and the military.

“We have a very colourful history and we must record it,” he said during the celebration.

Karambir Singh said the Indians had also been involved in the early trading that contributed to Sarawak becoming an economic hub.

He noted that the Indians had been involved for generations in the trade of textiles and spices, and the food industry in Sarawak.

“They are also very active in the services industry, especially in the medical and legal fields. There are also many engineers from our community. All of them played important roles in the development of Sarawak,” he stressed.

Miri Mayor Lawrence Lai, who joined in the 70th anniversary cum Deepavali celebrations here, said the authorities were grateful to the Indians for their role in shaping the state economy.

The Miri City Council, he said, had approved plans for the Indians to have a plot of land to construct a building. He added that the council would also build an Indian Garden in the Miri City Fan recreational park to acknowledge the community’s contributions.