Kuala Lumpur: India`s ruling Congress is among the 48 political parties invited to attend an international forum organised by Malaysia`s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).
The international forum featuring representatives from foreign political parties will be held in October in conjunction with this year`s UMNO general assembly.
Among the 48 foreign parties invited are Japan`s Liberal Democratic Party, Indonesia`s Golkar, Communist Party of China and United Russia, UMNO executive secretary Rauf Yusoh said.
The two-day forum, beginning Oct 18, will precede the UMNO general assembly scheduled to take place from Oct 19 to 23.
"We are expecting about 500 participants, including representatives from foreign missions in Malaysia and UMNO overseas clubs` members," The Star quoted Rauf as saying.
He said the forum was also expected to generate a lot of interest as it would be the first time foreign representatives were involved in the party`s general assembly.
Foreign parties sent observers earlier but, for the first time, party officials would be speaking at the assembly.
"Previously, they were at the assembly as guests to observe the proceedings. This time around, they will have the opportunity to share their views and experiences openly," he said.
The forum`s theme - Creating Global Community: Media Liberalisation and New Politics Reality - was also a factor in making the event more interesting, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will open the forum while Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will deliver the valedictory address.
Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled the country for 22 years, will deliver the keynote address.
UMNO represents the majority Malays in the ruling coalition that has the Malaysian Chinese Association and the Malaysian Indian Congress representing the significant ethnic groups of Chinese and Indians in the ruling alliance Barisan Nasional (BN).
In power since independence in 1957, the BN is actively preparing for the 2013 general election.