We’re too small to retaliate: Malaysian PM on India’s boycott of palm oil import

The Centre recently restricted oil imports from Malaysia over Mahathir Mohamad's remakrs on CAA

Benchmark Malaysian palm futures fell nearly 10 per cent last week, their biggest fall in 11 years, after India stopped buying oil from the country over Mahathir’s criticism of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Photo: PTI

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday (January 20) said the country will not take any retaliatory action against India for its boycott of palm oil purchases this month.

“We are too small to take retaliatory action. We have to find ways and means to overcome that,” Reuters quoted Mahathir as saying.

The report said, benchmark Malaysian palm futures fell nearly 10 per cent last week, their biggest fall in 11 years, after India stopped buying oil from the country over Mahathir’s criticism of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

It is being speculated that Malaysia’s refusal to revoke permanent resident status for Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who has been living in the country for three years and faces money laundering charges, was also behind India’s decision to restrict imports.

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Calling the CAA as “discriminatory” against Muslims, on the sidelines of Kuala Lumpur Summit recently, the Malaysian premier had questioned the necessity of such a law when Indians have “lived together for 70 years”.

“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 problems,” he said.

India in response to Mahathir comments, instructed palm oil importers to restrict imports from the country.

Leading refiners told media that although the Centre hasn’t imposed any official ban on crude palm oil imports from Malaysia, importers are not buying due to the government’s instructions.

The curbs on buying oil from Malaysia has in turn benefitted Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter of crude palm oil.

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