Affects our palm oil export but keeping quiet on Kashmir ‘not an option’, says Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad

Photo: Twitter

Srinagar: Three days after Pakistan observed “Yaum-i-Istehsal” (Day of Exploitation) on August 5, to mark one year since India revoked the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the erstwhile state two union territories, former Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad while referring to the Kashmir issue said that “keeping quiet is not an option.”

A day earlier, Mahathir had said that his country’s ties with India strained due to his remarks on Kashmir during his tenure as the prime minister of Malaysia.

The former PM clarified that he offered “no apology for what (he) had said,” adding that he is “sorry that it had affected our palm oil export to India.” “I don’t know if that is a high price to pay for speaking out against such injustices,” he said.

“I had chosen to speak out despite being aware of the potential backlash. To my mind, keeping quiet is not an option,” he said.

Referring to the first anniversary of the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted special rights to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, Mahathir said that since he is no more the Prime Minister, he can now “speak without restrain and address the Kashmir issue without threats of boycotts.”

In January this year, India had imposed new curbs on imports of palm oil, effectively banning imports of refined palm oil from Malaysia, the world’s second-biggest producer and exporter of palm oil after Indonesia.

The 95-year-old, whose outspoken nature has soured ties with both India and Saudi Arabia in the past, had earlier accused India of invading Kashmir.

In September 2019, Mahathir had raised the Kashmir issue while speaking at the UN General Assembly, drawing a strong reaction from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which said India “completely rejects the references made in respect of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral and inalienable part of India.”

Mahathir had said that despite UN resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, the territory had been “invaded and occupied.”

“There may be reasons for this action but it is still wrong. The problem must be solved by peaceful means. India should work with Pakistan to resolve this problem,” he had stressed.

Earlier Mahathir had said that although Malaysia was concerned about India’s curbs on imports of palm oil after the diplomatic row, he would continue to speak out against “wrong things” even if it cost his country financially.

In late February this year, the former Prime Minister resigned and was later replaced by Muhyiddin Yassin after a week-long political crisis.

On Saturday, following the series of tweets by Mahathir, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked Mahathir Mohamad for again speaking in support of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as the former Malaysian prime minister vowed to continue to raise the issue of New Delhi’s “injustices” in the disputed region.

“I want to thank Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad for speaking in support of Kashmiris and against Indian repression in IIOJK (Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir) — this time at a function on 8 Aug to mark a year of the illegal Indian actions in IIOJK,” Imran Khan wrote on his official Twitter handle.


Free Press Kashmir is now on Telegram. Click here to Join

Click to comment
To Top