Dr M: Losing hosting rights will not change our stance on Israel

PUTRAJAYA: Losing the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships will not affect Malaysia's stance on banning Israelis from entering the country, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Prime Minister said on Monday (Jan 28) that Malaysia had a right to make its stand on Israel, which it does not have any diplomatic relations with.

"We stand by our principles that Israel is a criminal nation. It has been breaking international laws without people saying anything about it.

"We have a right to voice our own feelings and to have our own policies.

"The US does not allow people from five Muslim countries to enter their country. Why is it that people do not complain about it? Some countries in Europe won't allow certain foreigners to come into their country.

"But we have our own reasons. These people (Israelis) are not seeking asylum, they are not facing difficulties. But they come from a country that does not obey international laws. We have to stand by our principle," said Dr Mahathir to reporters here.

When asked if this would affect Malaysia's chances of hosting other games, Dr Mahathir remained unmoved.

"They want to cancel it, then cancel it. I do not understand why the world must follow Israel. The world has the power, but they choose to obey Israel. We do not obey.

"If we cannot organise this sporting event, we can organise other ones," said Dr Mahathir.

When pointed out that Malaysia had allowed the Israeli cricket team to play in Malaysian tournament back in 1997, Dr Mahathir said: "Yes, I did. I also allowed Israeli schoolchildren to come here. We wanted to show them that Muslims are not terrorists. That we are normal people and we behave well.

"But what do they (Israelis) do? When children throw stones at them, they shoot them," said Dr Mahathir, referring to conflicts between Israel and Palestine.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) stripped Malaysia of its right to host the event set to be held in Kuching on July 29 after the country said it would not allow Israeli athletes to participate.

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