'We Are Too Small To Retaliate': Malaysia PM On India Curbs On Palm Oil

India, the world's largest edible oil buyer, this month halted Malaysian palm oil imports after Malaysia PM Mahathir's comments criticising New Delhi over its policy on Kashmir.

'We Are Too Small To Retaliate': Malaysia PM On India Curbs On Palm Oil

Malaysia PM Mahathir Mohamad said that they are too small to take retaliatory action. (File)

Highlights

  • India has been Malaysia's largest palm oil market for years
  • Imports stopped over Malaysian PM's criticism of India's policies
  • Malaysia has also refused to revoke Zakir Naik's citizenship
Langkawi, Malaysia:

Malaysia will not take retaliatory trade action against India over its boycott of palm oil purchases amid a political row between the two countries, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday.

India, the world's largest edible oil buyer, this month effectively halted imports from its largest supplier and the world's second-biggest producer in response to comments from Mr Mahathir attacking its domestic policies.

"We are too small to take retaliatory action," Mr Mahathir told reporters in Langkawi, a resort island off the western coast of Malaysia. "We have to find ways and means to overcome that," he added.

The 94-year-old premier of Muslim-majority Malaysia has criticised India's new religion-based citizenship law.

Mr Mahathir again criticised the citizenship law on Monday, saying he believed it was "grossly unfair".

India has been Malaysia's largest palm oil market for the past five years, presenting the Southeast Asian country with a major challenge in finding new buyers for its palm oil.

Benchmark Malaysian palm futures fell nearly 10% last week, their biggest weekly decline in more than 11 years.

New Delhi is also unhappy with Malaysia's refusal to revoke permanent resident status for controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who has lived in Malaysia for about three years and faces charges of money laundering and hate speech in India.

Mr Mahathir said even if the Indian government guarantees a fair trial, Naik faces the real threat of vigilante action and that Malaysia will only relocate the preacher if it can find a third country where he would be safe.

"If we can find a place for him, we will send him out."



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