GOPIO Malaysia organised the PIO Day Forum on 9th October 2022 at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indian Cultural Centre Kuala Lumpur to identify a suitable date for the annual celebration of PIO Day in Malaysia. The forum was supported by the High Commission of India and the Department of Indian Studies of the University of Malaya.
His Excellency Mr B.N. Reddy, the High Commissioner of India was the Chief Guest and H.E. also delivered the Keynote Address. Earlier, GOPIO Malaysia President, Mr Gunasekaren Sreerangan delivered the Welcome Address. The forum was also attended by Dr Manimaran Subramaniam, the Head of the Department of Indian Studies, University Malaya.
The Forum was held between 10.30 am to 4.00 pm and was divided into two segments: (i) Talks by ethnic NGO leaders/representatives and (ii) Presentations and Panel Discussion by Academics. Seven (7) ethnic-based NGOs and five (5) Academics participated in the forum. The NGOs representatives spoke about the arrival of their forefathers, the importance of celebrating our Indian heritage and their preferred date/week/month for the celebration of PIO Day. The academics presented papers related to the objective of the forum and proceeded with the academic panel discussion.
Among the NGOs were Akhanda Tamil Ulagam, Telegu Association of Malaysia, All Malaysia Malayalee Association, Malacca Chitty Cultural Association, the Malaysian Bengalee Association, the Oriya Society of Malaysia, Gujarati Association of Federal Territory and Selangor. Among the academics and researchers were Prof Datuk Dr Rajendran Nagappan, Assoc Prof Dr Ravichandran Moorthy, Asst Prof Dr Charanjit Kaur, Adjunct Professor Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi and independent researcher Manimaren Selvaraja.
Based on the consensus from the NGOs, the academic panel discussion recommended the third week of April as the most suitable date for the celebration of PIO Day in Malaysia, as this is the time all Indian ethnic communities celebrate their traditional New Year. It was proposed that the annual celebration of PIO Day includes conferences and festivals. GOPIO also intends to publish an academic journal on the history of PIOs in Malaysia, in collaboration with the Department of Indian Studies of the University of Malaya.