Malaysia’s bilateral partners should consider the impact of their policies on Malaysia as a whole, and not just pick and choose certain issues to focus on, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
Hishammuddin said this when asked about defence relationships with the European nations after the European Union (EU) passed draft measures which included banning palm oil in motor fuels from 2021 – a move that will adversely affect Malaysia’s palm oil exports to the region.
“When we look at the defence relationship with Europe, we cannot detach that from economic considerations as well,” he told a press conference in Parliament.
Hishammuddin said the EU’s proposed move could affect 650,000 smallholders and over 3.2 million Malaysians.
On Tuesday, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong had said Malaysia will impose trade restrictions on the EU should its final decision remain.
Hishammuddin had raised the issue with his French counterpart Florence Parly in a meeting here last month.
During the discussion, Hishammuddin explained why Malaysia viewed the matter seriously although he didn’t link the issue to the potential purchase of defence assets from France.
“We have to stand firm when it comes to the interests of our country and our people.”
However, Hishammuddin pointed out that negotiations for a Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) from France would take years, when asked if the move could be affected.
“We do not have to decide on the MRCA now, let it take its course,” he said.
On a separate issue, Hishammuddin said Pakatan Harapan should fulfil promises in its previous manifesto instead of promising more things.
He was responding to Pakatan’s promise to offer free water in Johor should it capture the state in the coming general election.
“I want to remind them, previously they promised free water for all of Selangor but that has yet to be fulfilled.
“I believe Johoreans will not be influenced. If they cannot fulfil the promises in their old manifesto, how can we believe what is being presented to the public now? he said.
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