Kashmir: M’sia-India ties still strong despite boycott campaign

Kashmir: M’sia-India ties still strong despite boycott campaign

KUALA LUMPUR: A proposed boycott of Malaysia by Indian netizens over social media would not jeopardise the country’s position in the international arena as well as its bilateral relations with India, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the calls for the boycott in response to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remark at the United Nations recently on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir have declined.

“We have conducted an analysis and I am convinced the boycott calls have declined and are no longer there today,” he said, during the Ministers’ Question Time in the house.

Saifuddin was replying to a question from Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) who wanted to know Malaysia’s stand on the proposed #BoycottMalaysia campaign.

Mahathir’s remark on the Jammu and Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan drew much response from Indian netizens on Twitter and led to them to proposing the boycott.

The prime minister had accused India of ‘invading Kashmir’ and urged UN to remedy the situation.

Replying to a supplementary question, from Ahmad Amzad Mohamed @ Hashim (PAS-Kuala Terengganu), Saifuddin said Malaysia monitors the situation in Jammu and Kashmir closely and expresses its concerns to the relevant leaders.

“In certain cases, we can express ourselves forcefully and clearly but there are times when we have to tread delicately, especially now. So, there are things that we can do and cannot do,” he said.

In the case of Kashmir, he said it is a place with which Malaysia has formally no direct access except by communicating with the two sides (India and Pakistan) to prevent matters from getting more serious.

To another question, Saifuddin suggested that MPs form a special caucus to offer suggestions on improving how the United Nations deals with human rights issues.

On related matter, Mahathir defended his remarks on Kashmir at a press conference, saying that he neither took India nor Pakistan’s side on the matter.

“Our stand is not in favour of anyone. We only asked the two sides to negotiate and not use force. That’s our policy.

“We ask that there be no use of force. We call for negotiation or arbitration or the use of the courts of law,” he said.

Mahathir added that he had informed Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to clarify the matter with him if the latter was not happy with Malaysia’s stand.