Ever since the downfall of Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia is on a course correction mode as it looks to mend its ties with India. In the span of just one year, Malaysia has gone from ranting about Kashmir and siding with Pakistan at international forums to now condemning global terrorism in an indirect dig at Pakistan. With this, Malaysia has indeed come a long way.
All eyes were on Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s address at the United Nations General Assembly address as India watched keenly whether Muhyiddin would follow the footsteps of his predecessor, Mahathir by ranting about Kashmir or will his address herald a new dawn.
Muhyiddin in his address refrained from raking up the issue of Kashmir which is a clear cut indication that Pakistan has officially lost Malaysia’s support on its stance on Kashmir.
In fact, Muhyiddin took an indirect dig at Pakistan as he sought to warn about the resurgence of terrorism due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
“We must never discount the fact that terrorist groups could be ramping up their efforts to take advantage of the present uncertain times to further enhance their agenda,” said Muhyiddin Yassin.
Pakistan which enjoyed the support of only two nations in the 193-member UN over its stance on Kashmir is now only left with Turkey with Erdogan dutifully once again raking up Kashmir at the UNGA. Muhyiddin’s silence on Kashmir has effectively left Pakistan isolated with only Turkey in its tow.
The Muhyiddin government has sought to restore the friendly relations enjoyed by India and Malaysia which were completely destroyed by Mahathir Mohamad due to his incessant rants and meddling into India’s internal affairs.
“Despite the UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied,” said Mahathir during his last year’s address to the UNGA.
Importantly, while Turkey towed Pakistan’s line on Kashmir, Erdogan refrained from naming India.
“The Kashmir conflict, which is also key to the stability and peace of South Asia, is still a burning issue. The withdrawal of Kashmir’s special constitutional status “further complicated the problem,” said Erdogan.
It is pertinent to note that while on the eve of the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 revoking the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, Turkey and Pakistan continued with their anti-India remarks, however, Malaysia led by Muhyiddin Yassin made no such remarks.
Muhyiddin Yassin has repeatedly stated his desire of wanting to establish strong ties with India ever since he stormed to power earlier this year. Wee Ka Siong, a prominent face in the Yassin cabinet and the incumbent Minister of Transport had hinted at Malaysia’s aspirations to seek rapprochement with India as soon as Yassin came to power.
He had said that improving ties with India was a priority as the Malaysian palm oil producers were suffering due to India’s move to restrict palm oil imports from Malaysia. “Can we just renegotiate? It’s for my country as well as for my people,” Wee told Reuters. “Since we are a new government, let the PM, the new government deal with it. We treasure the friendship with India.”
After Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, it seems that Pakistan has lost yet another ally in Malaysia as no country except Turkey and China, is ready to do Pakistan’s bidding at international forums.