PM: Malaysia to work diplomatically with India on palm oil issue

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad officiates the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2019 Forum in Kuala Lumpur October 16, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad officiates the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2019 Forum in Kuala Lumpur October 16, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government will have to work diplomatically if India decides to restrict the imports of Malaysian palm oil.

He said the speculated issues were just a reaction from traders and so far, we have not received any official statement from the Indian government on the matter.

“We have not received anything officially. This is the reaction from the business community. Hence, we cannot react to their personal decisions.

“If the (Indian) government launched a boycott or something like that, then we will have to work diplomatically or reduce the kind of action that they have taken,” he told the media after opening the Yayasan Sejahtera’s Community Development Fund at the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2019 Forum here, today.

Reuters earlier reported, citing unnamed sources, that India is considering punitive trade measures against Malaysia over Dr Mahathir’s recent United Nations General Assembly remarks on the Kashmir conflict.

Malaysia’s palm oil exports to India last year were valued at US$1.65 billion (US$1=RM4.19), accounting for 18.3 per cent of total Malaysian exports to the country.

On a separate note, the prime minister denied the allegation made by Rembau Member of Parliament Khairy Jamaluddin that the reduction in foreign investment in Malaysia was caused by the uncertainty of whether  Dr Mahathir would hand over the premiership to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“I don’t know (about the reduction) in investment but I saw it ran into billions. There’s no reduction. But we would like to have more investment as it is important for creating jobs.

“We have to go through this period, we have the same problem before. Previously, there were also attempts to destroy the country’s economy but we have to face the problem,” he said. — Bernama

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