Malaysia too small to respond to India's boycott of palm oil with trade retaliation: Mahathir Mohamad

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 20, 2020, 09.08 AM(IST)

File photo: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

India halted Malaysian palm oil imports after Malaysian PM Mohamad spoke out against recent policies of India including abrogation of Article 370 which critics say discriminate against Muslims.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday said that Malaysia is a too small of a nation to respond to India's boycott of palm oil with trade retaliation.

"We are too small to take retaliatory action. We have to find ways and means to overcome that," Mahathir told reporters in Langkawi, a resort island off the western coast of Malaysia.

India, the world's largest edible oil buyer, this month halted Malaysian palm oil imports after Malaysian PM Mohamad spoke out against recent policies of India including abrogation of Article 370 which critics say discriminate against Muslims.

Mahathir again criticised India's citizenship law on Monday, saying he believed it was "grossly unfair", a Reuters report said.

India has been Malaysia's largest palm oil market for the past five years, presenting the Southeast Asian country with a major challenge in finding new buyers for its palm oil.

Benchmark Malaysian palm futures fell nearly 10% last week, their biggest weekly decline in more than 11 years.

Meanwhile, trade ministers from India and Malaysia are likely to meet on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos this week, according to a Malaysian government spokesman.

(With inputs from Reuters)