PM: Malaysia prefers not to take sides

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 24 Mar 2019

STRENGTHENING relations with Pakistan will not result in any shift in Malaysia’s policy towards India, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Tensions remain between the nuclear-armed neighbours, but Dr Mahathir said Malaysia preferred not to take sides.

Instead the Prime Minister called on both sides to stop “acts of terror”.

“We do not like any war, and we cannot side with anyone. I think allowing terrorists to have the upper hand is very dangerous. Both sides must prevent acts of terrorism.

“Because there is no objective when terrorists fight, they just want to take revenge. You cannot conquer, you cannot defeat.

“So what can they do, just kill people. Is that what humanity is created for?” he told Malaysian journalists at the Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi as he wrapped up his three-day visit to Pakistan.

Recent hostility was sparked after a suicide car bombing on Feb 14 killed 40 Indian Central Reserve Police Force members in Pulwana, leading to India retaliating with an air strike in Pakistan.

The Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the bombing, while the Pakistan’s government condemned the attack and denied any involvement.

Dr Mahathir said terrorism issues were discussed with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan during their bilateral talks on Friday.

He added Malaysia understood the problem.

On the anti-corruption drive in Pakistan and Malaysia, he said both countries faced the same dilemma in getting corruption trials started.

“The Pakistan government wants to act against those who were corrupt in the past, but they find difficulty in getting the hearing in court.

“We are also having that problem, because it looks like the court has got its own ideas about how serious is the matter. As a result, we have not made much progress,” he said.

Imran had said Malaysia would be a key ally in his government’s battle to weed out corruption.

The country’s National Accountability Bureau has interrogated several former leaders, including ex-president Asif Ali Zardari.

In Malaysia, the corruption trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has yet to begin although he was charged several months ago.

“We have taken up cases to the courts but there has been no trial. Pakistan faces the same problem,” said Dr Mahathir.

On the “hero’s welcome” and treatment accorded to him by the Pakistan government, he said he felt greatly honoured by it.

“Everywhere I went, the reception was very good. The Prime Minister spent quite a lot of time with me, and he also came here (airbase) in the same car to send me off.

“The President (Dr Arif Alvi) is a very pleasant person and a good host. There is greater understanding now between Pakistan and Malaysia,” he said.

Dr Mahathir was specially invited to be guest-of-honour at the Pakistan Day parade which was celebrated with great zeal yesterday.

The parade is held annually to commemorate the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, when Muslims of the sub-continent set the agenda for a separate homeland.

The Prime Minister, who was received by Arif and Imran at the Shakar Parian parade ground, was treated to a grand military parade with contingents of the Pakistani armed forces conducting a march past.

Various aircraft conducted aerobatic feats, with combat and attack helicopter pilots also showcasing their skills.

Dr Mahathir said he was greatly impressed with the military skills on show.

“I do not know how strong the Pakistani army is but you will get a bloody nose if you fight it.

“Those missiles can carry nuclear warheads, so people will think twice before attacking Pakistan,’’ he added.

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