Yoursay: Dr M's missteps on India could cost Malaysia dearly



YOURSAY | ‘You think Indonesia will support Malaysia by not selling palm oil to India?’

Yoursay: India's M'sian palm oil boycott may trigger a firestorm

Sniper: Bersatu supreme council member Rais Hussin, here is your article dissected:

1. "News X’s anchor Rishabh Gulati (who said India must support Hindus in Malaysia that are up in arms against Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad)."

Don't worry. Indian Malaysians are not going to support India because their rice bowl will be affected if India takes trade action against Malaysia. We are in this together.

2. "The reasons offered by the diatribes include punishing Malaysia for supporting Pakistan and for not chastising Islamabad for its support of ostensible terrorist movements against India."

They are not "ostensible." They are real and declared to be real by the international community. Bad people are bad, even if they share your religious beliefs.

3. "Instead, all the palm oil which is needed by India to be manufactured into ghee...”

Ghee is 100 percent clarified butter from cow milk. Once palm oil or other vegetable oils are added, it is no more ghee but auta-ghee.

4. "India is destroying a key principle of its diplomatic engagement."

It's our PM who messed it up massively.

5. "Not only will the whole of Asean oppose it, but the rest of the East Asian region will see India's behaviour as the beginning of the use of ‘hatchet diplomacy’."

If you know geopolitics, you will be surprised how many members of the Asean actually want to maintain friendly relations with India as a counter to China.

6. "Besides, much of Indonesia's palm oil is owned and sold by Malaysian companies such as IOI and Genting."

What is sold by anyone from Indonesia is counted as an Indonesian export. Yes, Malaysian companies will profit, but now that you and your ilk are gleefully pointing this out, I am sure if India wants to punish us, they will avoid these companies as well.

7 "Indonesia and Malaysia, which together sell 90 percent of the palm oil in the world, do have an understanding not to be pressured by other countries. Instead, it is Indonesia and Malaysia that hold the upper hand as Jakarta and Putrajaya are not necessarily agreeable to New Delhi's strongarm tactics.”

Really? Agricultural raw material sellers hold the upper hand? Since when? If not for the high import tax, our own domestic market will not be able to sustain palm oil, as the other vegetable oils will flood our market.

8. "An Indian foreign policy which seeks to be pro-Asean and pro-East Asia - both of which India is intimately involved in - cannot begin by targeting any one country in the region on sheer political discrimination."

Is that how it works? We bash up someone and when they reply, we say it’s discrimination? Actually, you and your ilk are masters at discrimination here in this country.

9. "India can end up in a nuclear flash with Pakistan which is what Mahathir, Malaysia and the rest of the world are trying to prevent."

Are we trying to prevent it or did we pour fuel onto the fire?

Hmmmmmmmm: Rais, your article above sounds very much to me like a warning letter to India not to mess with us or else the whole of Asean will go after them. And if not, we can take legal action against India through the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

You say that the tension in Kashmir necessitated a country like Malaysia to diffuse it. But you should never go in as a peacemaker by accusing one party of being the aggressor, what more in this case when it is factually incorrect. You have, in fact, escalated the tension.

You think Indonesia will support you by not selling palm oil to India? They may smile in front of you, but laugh at you behind your back.

Kwong: Such an incredibly delusional article from a desperate Mahathir apologist. You think Asean, or Indonesia, will back you up if India chooses to buy from Indonesia instead of Malaysia?

With the second-largest population in the world and a fast-growing economy, why do you think India would hesitate to exercise its economic power like the US and China?

There are many palm oil companies that are Indonesian-owned too. In any case, even if you buy from a Malaysian-owned plantation in Indonesia, the taxes and salaries of the workers go to Indonesia, not Malaysia.

Rais said Malaysia is a friendly third party to reduce the tension between India and Pakistan.

Firstly, Mahathir attended Pakistan's National Day as a guest of honour just weeks after India and Pakistan shot down each other's planes, leading to Mahathir being allegedly barred from flying over India airspace.

Then the PM goes to the United Nations and tells the world that India invaded Kashmir, thus branding India as the aggressor. Moreover, we repeatedly deny India's call to send back wanted controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik. And you call this a "friendly third party"?

AnthonyChan: Indeed, it is wrong to argue that buying palm oil from Indonesia is the same as buying from Malaysia just because a few large Indonesian oil palm plantations are Malaysian owned.

The foreign currency goes to Indonesia. Taxes will be collected there. Jobs are created there, etc.

The only benefit Malaysia can get is when the plantation companies repatriate profits back home.

It is just common sense that we don't buy anything from someone we dislike, especially when there are other suppliers and alternatives.

OceanMaster: Among the top 10 trading partners of India, it's only Singapore, among Asean nations, that is on the list. Malaysia is only in the top 15.

Rais, you took a very narrow view of India's position vis-a-vis Asean. Are you implying that Indonesia will not sell more palm oil to India, since India reacted to Mahathir's interference with India's position in Jammu-Kashmir?

Firstly, Asean is united only on paper. In reality, when push comes to shove, every nation is for itself.

Secondly, as you pointed out, India is a nuclear-armed country. With China asserting more and more of its economic and military power in Southeast Asia, it is Asean which needs India's presence in the region, economically, militarily and socially; to provide a power balance, more than India needs Asean.

Thirdly, Rishab Gulati's opinion is just an opinion of one individual, just like any other of the 1.25 billion Indians have their own opinions, and yes, they are allowed to express it openly.

I know I am asking too much from you, but you have to do a lot more in-depth study, understand and create a narrative that appreciates the importance of India's position, historically, politically, economically and socially, for Malaysia and the region.

It's better to have India as a friend than a foe.

Anonymous_1381287629: This is the price for defending Zakir Naik, as well as the criticism of India.

Be sensitive. India is a big country, and is not a small Indian community in Malaysia where you can say what you want. Malaysia has not reached the stage of being a big brother telling others what to do. Please focus on keeping our house in order first.

Headhunter: It was started by Mahathir blindly harbouring that international money launderer and alleged terrorist instigator Zakir Naik, in spite of misgivings and warnings from level-headed Malaysians.

Now all the effort to sell our palm oil comes to nought. The Indonesian palm oil producers must be laughing all their way to the bank.

You reap what you sow. We should mind our own business, instead of poking our nose in every nook and corner of the world.

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