INDIAN businessmen must discard the crab mentality of pulling down each other as they climb up the ladder of success. They must be ready to look at the bigger picture of the Indian communitys progress rather than the smaller picture of self-interest.
They need to be self-analytical and not look at one another as adversaries, competitors or even enemies if they want to increase their share in the nations economic pie, said president of the Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI), Pardip Kumar Kukreja, during the associations annual dinner on Wednesday night.
We need to reinvent ourselves, he said.
We need to regularly ask ourselves: Are we relevant to the needs of the members and the community at large?
Addressing 1,400 guests at the dinner, Pardip said he sometimes wondered why Indians have not achieved the desired share of the economic pie.
If there are so many concerned organisations and we have so many professionals in our midst, how come we are still in this dilemma? he said.
Among the guests were presidents and leaders of the Malaysian Indian Congress, other Indian, Chinese and Malay chambers, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association and other organisations.
Our contribution to the economic upliftment is far from satisfactory. We need to double if not triple our efforts to be relevant in the times ahead, he said.
Pardip described the situation as one where we are in the same team, wearing jerseys of the same colour but we are trying to score goals in opposite directions.
How can this team ever win? A simple difference of opinion becomes a big issue, and breakaway organisations are formed while good friends become enemies because we are very unforgiving.
The answer, he said, lies in the the element of unity.
A day after he took office 100 days ago, he said, the media asked him about the 53-year-old chambers plan for the future. His reply, he said, was: I would like to push on the unity agenda within the Indian community.
Thus, in the first 100 days, he said, they have signed memorandums of cooperation with several organisations, brainstormed about unity at Frasers Hill, brought Indian businessmen together for a corporate golf tournament, organised corporate luncheons and meetings with other Indian, Chinese and Malay chambers, and raised funds for the chambers own building.
It has also launched a comprehensive website, a directory for Indian business today, and organised the first Malaysian Entrepreneur Award, which was presented by Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu to R. Doraisingam Pillai at the dinner.
One message to take home tonight is unity. Unity is of paramount importance to the development of the community, he said.
If we unite, we can make a lot of progress; we can do a lot of business with one another. If we do a lot of business with one another, we will be able to help one another.
If we help one another, we will be able to uplift one another and eventually the community will be uplifted. It is for this reason our theme tonight is: Networking Towards Unity.
Quoting an ancient Vedanta saying, he said: Right actions will bring right results. In other words that means wrong actions will bring wrong results.
We will have to make some sacrifices; we will need to reinvent our organisations; we will need to swallow our egos; we need to swallow some pride; we need to be more forgiving towards one another; and most importantly we need to change with the times, he stressed.