PM Admits Malaysia Too Small to Retaliate Against India

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Malaysia will find “ways and means” to overcome India’s restrictions of palm oil purchases, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Malaysia is a much smaller country than India and, as such, would not take retaliatory trade action over the restrictions, he said in Langkawi today.

Hasnoor Hussain/TMI

“We are too small to take retaliatory action. We have to find ways and means to overcome that.”

He was responding to India’s decision to impose curbs on refined palm oil imports, with New Delhi saying the move is to protect local millers.

The decision came about after comments from Dr Mahathir attacking India’s domestic policies.

Dr Mahathir had previously irked India by slamming its new religion-based citizenship law and criticised the move to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy.

He also refused to deport controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to his homeland where he is wanted for money-laundering and terrorism charges.

India has been Malaysia’s largest palm oil market for the past five years and the boycott presents Putrajaya with a major challenge to find new buyers for its palm oil.

Last week, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said Malaysia would use diplomatic channels to overcome India’s restrictions on palm oil imports.

She said Putrajaya is also eyeing new markets for the commodity, among them Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, South Africa, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

India’s restrictions do not affect Malaysian exports of crude palm oil (CPO) to the South Asian country. – TMI