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Indian expats and workers in Kadir's crosshairs, tit-for-tat mooted

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A Kadir Jasin has suggested a possible tit-for-tat against India if the latter wanted to boycott Malaysian products over Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remarks.

The premier's communications and media adviser trained the spotlight on the presence of Indian expatriates and workers in Malaysia.

“For hundreds of years, we have been accommodating immigrants from India. Some stayed temporarily but many stayed on and became citizens.

“The Indian High Commission in Malaysia estimates that there are 150,000 Indian expatriates and workers in Malaysia now.

“Since India is bent on penalising the importation of our palm oil products, we should perhaps take a look at the position of Indian expatriates and workers in our country, and the products we import from India,” he added in a Facebook post this evening.

Kadir also suggested that Malaysia grow locally more of the food items, which it imports from India and elsewhere.

Yesterday, Reuters quoted Indian government and industry sources as stating that palm oil importers in the country have effectively stopped all purchases from Malaysia.

The sources said this was after the government privately urged them to boycott the Malaysian product following a diplomatic spat.

"Officially there is no ban on crude palm oil imports from Malaysia, but nobody's buying due to government's instructions," said a leading refiner, adding that buyers now import from Indonesia despite paying a premium to prices in Malaysia.

India is the world's largest importer of palm oil, buying more than nine million tonnes annually, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Mahathir had irked New Delhi with his remarks regarding India's actions in Kashmir and the republic's new citizenship law.

Meanwhile, FMT reported that Mahathir remained firm on his views regarding India although expressing concern over the palm oil ban when quizzed during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

“We are concerned of course because we sell a lot of palm oil to India. But on the other hand, we need to be frank and say when something goes wrong.

“If we allow things to go wrong and think only about the money, then a lot of things will go wrong,” he added.

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