KAULA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday said he was concerned by India palm oil import curbs but defended his criticism for the Citizenship Amendment Act.
India, the world’s largest buyer of palm oil last week imposed restrictions on imports from Malaysia, the world’s second largest producer and exporter after Indonesia following Mahathir’s remark on the new citizenship law and the Kashmir issue, reported Reuters citing unidentified government and industry officials.
Need to be frank
The 94-year-old outspoken Prime Minister who soured ties with India, however, indicated that such economic considerations will not stop the “need to be frank” against “wrong things.”
“We are concerned of course because we sell a lot of palm oil to India, but on the other hand we need to be frank and see that if something goes wrong, we will have to say it,” he said as quoted by leading news agency.
“If we allow things to go wrong and think only about the money involved, then I think a lot of wrong things will be done, by us and by other people.”
Necessity of CAA
In December last year, while speaking to the reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019, Mahathir questioned the “necessity” of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), that allegedly discriminates Muslims.
He was quoted as saying, “People are dying because of this law. Why is there a necessity to do this when all the while, for 70 years, they have lived together as citizens without any problem?”
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed from Parliament and became an Act with the Presidential assent to it on November 12.
Excluding Muslims, the CAA seeks to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains, and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh on or before December 31, 2014.