KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya has not received any formal reply from the Indian government on a speculated palm oil boycott, Deputy Primary Industries Minister Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said today.
“Indian palm oil importers are feeling the impact of uncertainties and say it (the boycott) could just be speculation,” he said in replying to questions raised during the debate on the Supply Bill 2020 pertaining to his ministry in the Dewan Rakyat.
He said diplomatic ties between both nations remained good and that Malaysia was hoping to increase trade with India.
Shamsul said Malaysia acknowledged that India remained the biggest palm oil buyer since 2014.
Statistics from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board show that Malaysia exported RM6.9 billion worth of palm oil to India last year.
In the first nine months of 2019, the country shipped 3.91 million tonnes of palm oil to India, 107% higher than the 1.89 million tonnes exported a year ago.
Besides palm oil, Malaysia’s trade with India includes oil and gas, chemicals, electrical and electronics, automotive, food and other finished goods.
To a suggestion from Edmund Santhara Kumar (PH-Segamat) to appoint a special ambassador to India to improve economic ties, Shamsul said it would be forwarded to the prime minister.
It was reported that the Indian government might consider imposing trade curbs on Malaysia’s goods following Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks on Jammu and Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Indian traders have reportedly been discussing stopping the purchase of palm oil from Malaysia, the world’s second biggest exporter.