Defiant Mahathir stands by Kashmir comments

Defiant Mahathir stands by Kashmir comments

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said that he will not retract his comments on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, despite boycott threats of Malaysian palm oil by India.

“We speak out our mind and we don’t retract and change,” he told reporters at the Parliament.

Last month, Mahathir courted controversy when he accused India of ‘invading and occupying’ Kashmir in his speech at the United Nations (UN).  

He also called upon India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue amicably and abide by UN resolution in regards to the matter.

Mahathir’s comments triggered an outcry among Indians, who started the #BoycottMalaysia campaign.

Yesterday, Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India yesterday called upon their government to boycott Malaysian palm oil.

Defending his comments, Mahathir said that he had not only urged India to abide by UN resolution but also Pakistan.

“All we are saying is that we should all abide. Not just India, not just Pakistan, but even the US and other countries should abide by the resolution of the UN.

“Otherwise, what is the good of having the UN?” he asked.

The prime minister added that as a trading nation, Malaysia wants to be friendly to all but that does not mean one should not speak up when the situation warrants it.

“Sometimes, we have to strain relationships but we want to be friendly with people. Malaysia is a trading nation, we need markets. So, we are nice to people but we also have to speak up for people sometimes.

“What we say is liked by some, by disliked by others,” said Mahathir.

To mitigate the negative effects, Mahathir said that the government would communicate with the trade group.

“This is not the Indian government. So, we will have to find ways on how to deal and communicate with these people.

“Because we are a trading nation and it is bad to have what amounts to a trade war,” he said.