KUALA LUMPUR: The ban on Israeli athletes entering Malaysia is a way for the country to convey to Israel that Malaysia is against its transgressions against Palestinians, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
PKR president and Port Dickson Member of Parliament Anwar said since Israel had been ignoring pressure from the international community and continued to "transgress Palestinians", Malaysia had the right to speak up.
"The ban on the athletes is considered one of the ways to convey our strong position to Israeli over their transgression against the Palestinians.
"It is our right (to convey our position). They completely ignore pressure from the international community. I think the Cabinet and the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad have made the right decision," said Anwar.
He was speaking to the media after the proclamation ceremony of Kampung Kerinchi here on Saturday (Jan 19).
On the issue of Malaysia and Singapore, Anwar said the disagreement with the latter was being ironed out through negotiations.
"The foreign minister has said we will try and resolve this through negotiations, and the Cabinet has endorsed this position and we want to attain a cordial relationship with Singapore.
"Our interest is to protect the Malaysian interest, and there were occasions in the past when we feel that our interest was not adequately protected. The position of the cabinet that I support is that our position and interest are protected.
"We are not engaging in something rancorous," said Anwar.
The Malaysia and Singapore bilateral spat on maritime boundaries with matters related to the Johor Baru port limits resurfaced on Dec 4 when the republic claimed that the recent extension of the limits of the port had encroached into Singaporean territorial waters off Tuas.
Malaysia said the claim was inaccurate, pointing out that the new port limits were in its territorial sea.
Both countries have said that they were still on good diplomatic terms and that talks to find a solution were ongoing.
Mahathir’s Malaysia bans all Israeli nationals from events it hosts
Israel calls Malaysian ban on its athletes ‘shameful’
Syed Saddiq stands firm by Israeli athlete ban
Dr M: Israelis should not come to Malaysia as countries have no diplomatic relations