Rethink ban on Malaysian palm oil, Wee urges India

PETALING JAYA: India should reconsider its decision to advise its palm oil importers to shun Malaysian palm oil as the country’s political situation has changed.

“I would like to take this opportunity to send a message to the Indian government, ” said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).

“The situation has changed within our country. India should reconsider its decision to ban palm oil imports from Malaysia, ” he said in a Facebook post yesterday.

He said free and fair trade should once again prevail for the mutual benefit of both countries.

“If there is any issue or misunderstanding remaining between our countries, let’s discuss openly, ” he added.

The ban came following a political row between the two countries last December when then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad spoke out against India’s citizenship legislation, which appeared discriminatory towards Muslims.

India’s new citizenship law made it easier for persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get citizenship – but not if they are Muslims.

Dr Mahathir had also spoken out against India’s actions in the Kashmir region.

Kashmir is a Muslim-majority region that is also claimed by Pakistan.

A report by Reuters on Jan 7, citing government and industry sources, said that India had “informally” asked palm oil refiners and traders to avoid buying Malaysian palm oil.

The report, quoting an unnamed “senior official in India’s vegetable oil industry”, said the Indian government had asked refiners at a meeting “attended by two dozen vegetable oil industry officials in New Delhi to boycott Malaysia”.

Before the ban, India was the largest importer of Malaysian palm oil.

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