Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad has defended his criticism for India’s amended anti-Muslim Citizenship Act even after the Narendra Modi government effectively banned the import of palm oil from Malaysia.
Reacting the curbs imposed by India which effectively bans the import of palm oil from Malaysia, the 94-year-old prime minister said that he could not think only about money even when ‘wrong things’ were being committed by other countries.
According to news agency Reuters, Mohamad told reporters, “We are concerned of course because we sell a lot of palm oil to India, but on the other hand we need to be frank and see that if something goes wrong, we will have to say it.” He added, “If we allow things to go wrong and think only about the money involved, then I think a lot of wrong things will be done, by us and by other people.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 in December last year, the Malaysian PM had questioned the ‘necessity’ of the CAA, when Indians had ‘lived together for 70 years.’ Al-Jazeera news ahd quoted him as saying, “People are dying because of this law. Why is there a necessity to do this when all the while, for 70 years, they have lived together as citizens without any problem?”
Mohamad had also criticised India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 on Jammu and Kashmir last year in August. Kashmir’s eight million population has been forced to live under severe lockdown without proper access to the internet since 5 August.
Mahathir Mohamad had said in the United Nations General Assembly, “Now, despite the UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied.” He had added, “There may be reasons for this action but it is still wrong. The problem must be solved by peaceful means. India should work with Pakistan to resolve this problem. Ignoring the UN would lead to other forms of disregard for the UN and the Rule of Law,”
India was Malaysia’s biggest buyer of palm oil in 2019, with 4.4 million tonnes of purchases. In 2020, purchases could fall below 1 million tonnes if relations don’t improve, Indian traders say.