Najib becomes first Malaysian PM to visit Chennai in South India

By B. Anbumani, NNN-Bernama,

Chennai : Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has arrived for a historic two-day visit to this capital of Tamil Nadu, the state in south India which the majority of Indian Malaysians orginate from. Indians, the majority of them Tamils, make up about 8.0 per cent of Malaysia’s population of 27.8 million.

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The people here are deeply touched by his gesture to be the first Malaysian Prime Minister to make the visit and all the people met by this reporter here described Najib’s visit as very symbolic because of the longstanding ties between Malaysia and Tamil Nadu.

They described Najib as Malaysia’s “new hero” and said they were also eagerly awaiting the historic meeting between Najib and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi.
Business leaders from around Tamil Nadu and also Malaysia have already camped here since two days ago in anticipation of the visit.

Hotels around this city have been fully booked till the end of this week due to the huge number of people who have here for the visit, which includes people from Singapore as well. It is understood many businessmen had to put up with friends because rooms at five star hotels had all been taken up.

Malaysia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, A. Kohilan Pillay, who is also in Chennai, related to Bernama how Najib made the decision to make a two-day visit to Chennai. “Initially it was to be only a three or four-hour visit but I managed to impress on the Prime Minister on the importance which needed to be given to Chennai because of the longstanding and special ties between Malaysia and Chennai.” he recounted.

“Not only in terms of family ties but also in terms of business, investment and other matters. In the end the visit was extended to two days and the Prime Minister will also be meeting Malaysian students in Chennai,” he said.

Najib and Karunanidhi are expected to discuss issues like entry of foreign workers into Malaysia from Tamil Nadu, work permits, visa problems and also on politics.