PM says Malaysia needs to find solution to India and palm oil, but can’t only think of money

Radzi Razak
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad answers questions during the Bank Rakyat 2019 National Conference on Integrity in Kuala Lumpur January 14, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Malaysia will need to come up with ways to resolve a current crisis concerning its palm oil exports to India, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today in response to news reports that its biggest importer is stopped purchasing the commodity.

The prime minister said he is concerned about the latest development but insisted that there were other matters at stake apart from money.

“We’re concerned of course, because we sell a lot of palm oil to India. But on the other hand, we need to be frank and say when something goes wrong. We need to say it.

“If we allow things to go wrong and think only about the money, then a lot of things will go wrong.

“That’s something that we have to find a solution for, but the fact is what’s happening in India today is causing a lot of unhappiness among the people there and the whole world feels that it’s wrong to discriminate,” he told reporters after attending Bank Rakyat’s Inaugural Integrity Forum 2020.

He was responding to a Reuters exclusive news report yesterday citing anonymous sources claiming Indian palm oil importers have effectively stopped all purchases from top supplier Malaysia after New Delhi government officials privately issued a boycott.

The palm oil tension was said to be in reaction to Dr Mahathir’s past remarks criticising India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as discriminatory against Muslims which sparked deadly protests across the South Asian country last year.

Prior to that, Dr Mahathir also came under fire over India’s actions in Kashmir.

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