Delhi has not said anything, says Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR: The Indian government has not said anything on the Malaysia-India palm oil issue that has prompted certain quarters to advise against buying the commodity from this country, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“What’s really important is that their government has not said anything, so we will see what the (Indian) government policy is going to be like,” the prime minister told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Certain quarters, among them some netizens, individuals and a trade association in India, have given such advice following Dr Mahathir’s remarks on the Jammu and Kashmir issue at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last month.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia would find ways to deal and communicate with these quarters, and stressed that the actions thus far were not by the Indian government.

“Malaysia is a trading nation. We need markets, so we are nice to people but we also have to speak up for people. Sometimes what we say is liked by some and disliked by others,” he said when asked to comment on the Malaysia-India palm oil issue.

Asked whether he would retract the statement (on Jammu and Kashmir) that he had made at the UN, Dr Mahathir said: “We speak our minds and we don’t retract and change… .

“We feel that the people of Kashmir have been given and have benefitted from a resolution of the UN and all we are saying is that we should all abide (by the resolution), not just India, not just Pakistan but even America and other countries should abide by the resolution of the UN, otherwise what’s the good of having the UN.”

On business proposals for national carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd, he said: “We know Malaysia Airlines is losing money. It has undergone many changes, many ideas and management, but still it is losing money. Now there are people who say they can turn it around. We will examine that, we examine all. If you have any idea, you are welcome to share with the government.”

On the proposed sale of PLUS Malaysia Bhd (PLUS), Dr Mahathir said the government is considering various proposals.

“Usually, the government does not get involved in business and it is better for the private sector to be involved in business. We hope they (private sector) will make a profit and we get 24 percent of their profit without any risk, any investment whatsoever.

“However, sometimes the private-sector proposals are not attractive, do not give a good picture of the future of PLUS. We are studying which is the better, to be owned by the government or the private sector,” he said. – Bernama