Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir as promised by him during the run-up to the elections after a period of around 2 years, will hand over the reins of Malaysia to Anwar Ibrahim, leader of People’s Justice Party (PKR). However, if Mahathir continues at this rate, it will be too little too late as he will completely obliterate the Malaysian economy before he eventually steps down. Due to Mahathir’s rabid anti-India statements, India has already decided to stop the Malaysian palm oil import which has already caused panic in Malaysia.
As Mahathir blinded by his love for Wahabism refuses to tone down his anti-India rhetoric, India is planning to impose more curbs on Malaysia.
After refined palm oil, the government is looking to further step up the heat on Malaysia with a plan to restrict the import of microprocessors as the trade tensions between the two countries are unlikely to ease as Mahathir continues to rant over Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act, reports the Times of India. Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad’s determination to speak out on India’s internal issues has seen the Modi government working on imposing technical standards on microprocessors and also putting in place a quality control order for telecom equipment. Customs authorities have been asked to ensure compliance of the quality control order as part of efforts to restrict the entry of Malaysian equipment into India, in what is probably the first trade retaliation by India against a country’s political stance.
Mahathir himself acknowledged that he is worried over India’s move to restrict Malaysian imports but would continue to speak out against “wrong things”. The Malaysian stock market doesn’t share the same views as Mahathir as Malaysian palm oil futures fell by 2.8%, the highest in 8 months on Tuesday. Apart from Mohamad’s comments on Kashmir and CAA, Indian authorities are upset with Malaysia’s reluctance to extradite controversial preacher Zakir Naik, prompting the government to hit back on the trade front.
It seems that Mahathir’s refusal to behave has triggered the Indian government to pull the plug as it has informally asked palm oil refiners to stop buying palm oil from Malaysia.
Malaysia’s economy heavily depends on its palm oil exports to India. Palm oil accounts for nearly two-thirds of India’s total edible oil imports. India buys more than 9 million tonnes of palm oil annually, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia. Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, followed by Malaysia. Palm oil is crucial for the Malaysian economy as it accounts for 2.8% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product and 4.5% of total exports. Since the shipments have already been contracted for the moths of January and February, Malaysia will feel the heat from March onwards as Indonesia’s exports will rise.
Mahathir it seems has skipped his classes on the economy as he has decided to alienate India at a time when Malaysia exported palm oil worth $1.65 billion to India in 2018. Globally, the European Union is also planning to phase out palm oil by 2030 as there are growing concerns over its impact on the environment as Malaysia finds itself caught in the crossfire between the US-China trade war as two of its biggest trade partners engage in a tariff war. At such a delicate time, Mahathir’s anti-India tirades will alienate India exposes his inept and is an extremely poor judgement of economics.
The Indian government seems in a mood to punish Malaysia as it steps up the efforts to make Mahathir behave.