Saifuddin shrugs off #BoycottMalaysia move after Dr M’s comment on Kashmir

Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah today shrugged off concerns that bilateral trade with India will be affected by an online push for a boycott of Malaysia following remarks by Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the recent session of the UN general assembly.

Speaking during ministerial question time at the Dewan Rakyat here, he said the #BoycottMalaysia movement was “slowly dying off”.

Speaking at the 74th session of the UN general assembly on Sept 27, Mahathir said that Jammu and Kashmir had “been invaded and occupied”.

He also asked New Delhi to work with Pakistan to resolve the issue.

When questioned by Fahmi Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) on whether trade with India would be affected, Saifuddin said India is Malaysia’s 10th largest trading partner, with trade expected to reach more than US$15 billion.

He added that Putrajaya is aiming to attract 780,000 Indian tourists to Malaysia in 2020.

He also said the government “wants to be friends and trade with all countries except Israel”, and that it does not interfere with any country.

On certain issues, though, Putrajaya needs to make a stand, he added.

“That is why we voiced out on the Rohingya,” he said. “We played a proactive role.

“It’s not about Muslims, but about those who are being oppressed. We need to speak up.”

At times, he said, the government might resort to “full-fledged megaphone diplomacy” as it had over Palestine and the Rohingya, while at other times it might use a different strategy.

However, he said the government was clear on wanting to play an active role in international issues.