DPM: No decision made on using oil as a weapon


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 01 Mar 2003

BY LEONG SHEN-LI AND JANE RITIKOS

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has clarified that no decision had been made on using oil as a weapon during the informal meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference on Wednesday. 

“They only discussed the issue. It was not a decision. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad only pointed out that the positive and negative effects of using oil as a weapon by Muslim countries had to be closely studied. 

“It looked like the media had in its headlines made it look like it was a final decision. 

“There was in fact no decision on it,” he said during a visit to the Police Training Centre to thank the police for their role at the Non-Aligned Movement Conference recently. 

Abdullah did not attend the meeting but was at the press conference together with Dr Mahathir and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar after the meeting. 

In Petaling Jaya, Syed Hamid described as “premature and unreasonable” the United States' reaction to Dr Mahathir's statement on oil as a weapon for Muslim countries. 

He said people would have understood Dr Mahathir if they had analysed the statement and not been too quick to jump to conclusions. 

He said Dr Mahathir had, in answering questions posed by journalists, stated that the issue of oil as a weapon was only discussed at the informal meeting. 

“He said this suggestion needed a thorough scrutiny because of its far-reaching implications. It was just a proposal and no decision was made on it because it was an informal meeting,” Syed Hamid said after appearing on TV3’s MHI programme yesterday. 

On Thursday, AFP reported that the United States had dismissed Dr Mahathir’s call for Muslim states to consider using oil prices as a weapon to force a peaceful resolution to the Iraq crisis. 

A State Department spokesman was quoted as saying that Washington had been assured by leading members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries that the cartel would not use oil as a weapon. 

Syed Hamid said the meeting was aware that if Iraq were attacked, Saudi Arabia would produce more oil to make up for the shortage. 

“We know (the proposal to use oil as a weapon) is not as simple as that and needs to be looked into further,” he said, adding that Malaysia hoped the issue does not become a polemic or be seen as if it was trying to instigate the Muslim countries. 

“We hope the reaction from the super powers does not go overboard, as if we are posing a threat to them. How can we be a threat when we are the mouse or the little snake and they are the big dragon that can swallow us?” he asked.  

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