KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has again defended himself for voicing out against New Delhi’s policies on Kashmir and its controversial citizenship law, at the same time expressing concerns over reports of plans in India to restrict imports of Malaysian palm oil.
“We’re concerned of course because we sell a lot of palm oil to India. But on the other hand, we need to be frank and say when something goes wrong,” he told reporters today.
“If we allow things to go wrong and think only about the money, then a lot of things will go wrong,” the prime minister said at an event where he witnessed Bank Rakyat’s management staff taking an integrity pledge.
Reuters had quoted sources as saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government was seeking to target Malaysia after Mahathir’s recent criticism of India.
Last year, Mahathir said India invaded and occupied Kashmir following a military crackdown on the Muslim majority region.
In December, Mahathir hit out at the BJP government over a new citizenship law seen as discriminating Muslim migrants.
Mahathir said events in India were causing a lot of unhappiness among its people.
“And the whole world feels that it’s wrong to discriminate,” he said.
‘Sanctions against Iran will hurt others as well’
On the Iran-United States conflict, Mahathir said the sanctions imposed on Iran will not only hurt that country but other economies as well.
“I don’t believe in sanctions because when you apply sanctions, you hurt a lot of people.
“When there are sanctions against Iran, Malaysia suffers too because we also lose our market,” he said.
Because of this, he said, Iran and the US need to negotiate and settle their problems, not engage in fights with each other.
On Jan 8, Iran attacked air bases housing US forces in Iraq as retaliation for the US killing of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani.
On the same day, Iranian armed forces shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, a move Iran said was a mistake after the passenger jet was wrongly identified as a cruise missile flying over Tehran.