Najib, Manmohan launch Little India

KUALA LUMPUR: In a historic moment, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his visiting Indian counterpart, Dr Manmohan Singh, Wednesday launched Little India, Kuala Lumpur's Indian enclave in Brickfields.

Both leaders unveiled a fountain, symbolising the launch of the event which strengthened their close government-to-government and people-to-people relations.

"This is more than a symbol...will be a tourist place and will certainly benefit the people here," Najib said in his remarks before the launch, which was attended by about 5,000 people amidst tight security in the area.

Little India covers the area from Jalan Travers to Jalan Tun Sambanthan, with the first phase costing RM17mil expected to be ready in December.

Work on the first phase, developed by Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB), began in May.

The two-phase Little India project, worth RM35mil, involves the construction of new business premises and a parking complex, and road expansion.

Standing at 7.62m, the fountain is the tallest in the country. A stone's throw away is KL Sentral, the capital's transportation hub.

Manmohan arrived here Tuesday for a three-day official visit to Malaysia.

Wednesday's event was also attended by Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Manmohan's wife Gursharan Kaur, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, ministers, deputy ministers and community leaders.

The Brickfields area was decorated with colourful banners welcoming Najib and Manmohan.

Dignitaries were entertained with cultural shows, including a 1Malaysia welcome song by 60 schoolchildren, and a welcoming dance by maestro Ramli Ibrahim.

After the cultural show, Najib and Manmohan were presented with golden shawls by Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin. Both leaders were also garlanded with flowers by his deputy, Datuk M. Saravanan.

The Little India project is Najib's brainchild. In April last year, less than 24 hours after being sworn in as Prime Minister, he went on a walkabout to meet the people in Brickfields. — Bernama

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