New Delhi: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had irked India with his remarks on Jammu and Kashmir and, later, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), on Saturday said that though his remarks had affected Malaysia’s palm oil export to India, ‘I offer no apology for what I had said’. Also Read - 'Will Overcome Current Challenges,' Says Malaysia on India's Palm Oil Import Boycott
Notably, India had responded to Mahathir’s constant remarks on its internal affairs by imposing a de facto ban on palm oil imports from Malaysia. In January, Malaysia’s palm oil export to India tanked 85% year-on-year, the lowest since 2011. Also Read - 'Too Small to Take Retaliatory Action,' Says Malaysian PM on India's Palm Oil Boycott
On Saturday, he tweeted: “I had chosen to speak out despite being aware of the potential backlash. To my mind, keeping quiet is not an option when all the tell-tale signs were pointing towards another situation whereby a big and powerful country imposed its will with impunity on a small and defenceless nation”.
Mahathir added that what had transpired since his contentious speech at the UN General Assembly in September 2019, only proved that what he had said was mild and to a certain degree, restrained.
Notably, as the-then Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir had raised the Kashmir issue during his speech at the UN General Assembly last September.
He added that he offered no apology for what he had said, though he was sorry that it had affected Malaysia’s palm oil export to India. “I don’t know if that is a high price to pay for speaking out against such injustices”, he said.
“Now that I am no more the Prime Minister, I take it that I can now speak without restrain and address the Kashmir issue without threats of boycotts and such”, he concluded.
However, in February this year, Mahathir had to resign from office with Muhyiddin Yassin succeeding him as the Prime Minister.
Since then, not only has India resumed the import of Malaysian palm oil, on August 5-the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370-Malaysia, too, refrained from making any comment on the same.