Greentown Indian Cultural Society held a welcoming ceremony in Ipoh for the new High Commissioner of India, His Excellency Mr T.S. Tirumurti, together with the Malaysia India Cultural and Tourism Friendship Day at Auditorium Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara. The High Commissioner was given a presentation about Perak and the activities of the Society.
During her welcome speech, Dato’ Dr M. Majumder, one of the founding members of the Society, said that Ipoh was a cultural desert and the society was formed to promote culture and arts of the different ethnic groups. Since its formation in 2004, the society has organised 38 free cultural programmes. She requested the Indian High Commission to provide a financial grant to promote cultural activities.
In his speech H.E. Tirumurti said that Perak was the first state he is visiting after being appointed High Commissioner in December 2013. His reason for choosing Ipoh was based on the fact that Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore visited Ipoh in 1927 and freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose came to Ipoh in the forties.
He added that Malaysia and India have a long cultural link as well as a strong bond of friendship. The monorail project in Mumbai is being constructed by a Malaysian company and an Indian pharmaceutical company is setting up a plant in Johore.
A number of cultural groups, including Greentown Cultural Centre, Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Perak Heritage Society honoured Tirumurti with the presentation of Golden Shawl and garlanding him.
There were Malay, Chinese and Indian dance performances. The highlight of the evening was the performance by Pandit Santosh Kumar Chaterjee from the Indian Cultural Centre, KL. Chaterjee created the sound of a train moving out of the platform, crossing another train, arriving and stopping at the next station by just tapping the floor with his feet. The salangai or anklet tied around his ankles provided the sound effects.
The following day the Perak Indian Chamber of Commerce (PICC) hosted lunch for the High Commissioner at their premises in Jalan Sultan Iskandar. In his address, M. Kesavan, President of PICC said that their members want to create a link with their counterparts in India. They are interested in the import/export business. Currently there are about 18,000 registered Indian SMEs and about 3000 limited companies in Perak.
H.E. Tirumurti said that businessmen in India are more concerned with meeting the local demand. He added that in India, the export component of SMEs is about 40 per cent whereas in Malaysia it is only 19 per cent and there is scope for expansion. He informed that the Comprehensive Economic Agreement on Trade between India and Malaysia is coming up for review. PICC must have their input on what changes they would like to see. He promised that the Indian High Commission would provide assistance to PICC.