KUCHING, Oct 23: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing criticised Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his ‘reckless’ comments on the Kashmir conflict as it will negatively impact the oil palm industry in Malaysia.
Masing pointed out that as a small country, Malaysia should instead mind its own business.
“The current economic animosity between Malaysia and India on oil palm trading which has negative effects on our oil palm planters, is a wake-up call for the PM not to interfere into other nations’ internal affairs unless we are USA.
“Primary Industries Minister Theresa Kok’s advice to oil palm planters to remain calm after Tun Dr Mahathir’s colossal diplomatic blunder is like telling the farmer to remain calm after his favourite horse has bolted through the gate,” according to Masing here today.
Masing was responding to Kok’s call for calm after an influential Indian trade body urged its members to boycott Malaysian palm oil.
It was reported that Kok was concerned over the advisory from the Solvent Extractor’s Association (SEA) of India, given the significant and long-standing trade relations between Malaysia and India.
Kok had said that she attended a key event hosted by SEA at GlobOil, Mumbai as their guest-of-honour.
“We have always fostered excellent working relations with SEA who is the conduit for various edible oil processors in India. While we try to understand the underlying sentiment associated with the SEA advisory with respect to Malaysian palm oil imports, we feel this is a major setback in our progressing cooperation and working relations,” Kok explained in a statement yesterday.
Kok urged SEA not to make any unilateral decisions and to allow the governments of both countries to resolve the issue at hand.
She opined it was important for SEA and the Malaysian palm oil industry to continue to work together and act as a bridge to promote better ties between the two countries.
“Let’s work together for the long term benefit of all the stakeholders in the vegetable oil industry,” she said, adding that Malaysia and India shared a long-rooted historical and cultural commonality on top of a good diplomatic and trade relationship.
“We have regularly looked towards India to provide technology innovations particularly in the processing of palm oil and I acknowledge wholeheartedly the pioneering role played by Indian entrepreneurs when the Malaysian refining industry was at its infancy,” she noted.
She added Putrajaya was seriously exploring various opportunities to enhance bilateral trade, noting that aside from palm oil, Malaysia’s trade with India included oil and gas, automobiles, chemicals, electrical and electronics, food and other finished goods.
It was previously reported that SEA advised its members, who are oilseed crushers, against buying Malaysian palm oil, taking a cue from New Delhi’s protest against Dr Mahathir’s remarks on the Kashmir conflict. — DayakDaily