KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — Putrajaya maintains trade ties with Israel despite claiming that the lack of diplomatic relations with the country was a factor in its decision to bar two Israeli athletes from entering Malaysia, PAS MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar said today.
Accusing the Barisan Nasional (BN) of hypocrisy in its stand on Israel, the Pokok Sena MP pointed out that the government’s recent disavowal of Israel was inconsistent with the International Trade and Industry Ministry’s acknowledgement that it has economic dealings with the nation.
“To me, this is the hypocritical policy of Umno-BN to at once offer Malaysia’s aid and defence to the Palestinians while at the same time bolstering economic and trade ties with Israel.
“Indirectly, Malaysia is helping to strengthen Israel in continuing its oppression and killing of Palestinians,” he said in a statement today.
Mahfuz added that Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s explanation on why Malaysia did not admit the two Israelis contradicted a previous explanation by the Foreign Affairs Ministry that said conditional entry was possible.
The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday the chairman of the Israel Sailing Association, Gili Amir, as saying that Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan will not take part in the international surfing competition here, as both athletes had yet to receive their visas 24 hours before their scheduled departure.
Amir also reportedly accused Malaysia of putting “unacceptable” demands on Israel by forbidding their athletes from carrying their country’s flag or from wearing any symbol on their attire and surfboards to show their country of origin.
Khairy told Malay Mail Online on Friday that Malaysia accepted the withdrawal of the two Israeli athletes from the Youth Sailing World Championships, saying that Putrajaya was guided by the “existing policy of the Malaysian government” as it was a “diplomatic issue”.
Pro-Palestine Malaysia does not formally recognise Israel as a country, and Israeli passport holders may not be admitted into the country without express written permission from the Malaysian government.