Despite curbs on imports of palm oil, Malaysia PM Mahathir unmoved

Mahathir Mohamad, PM of Malaysia. Photo: Bloomberg
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday said though he was concerned about India’s new curbs on imports of palm oil after a diplomatic row, he would speak out against “wrong things” even if it costs his country financially.

Indian palm oil importers have effectively stopped all purchases from top supplier Malaysia after the government privately asked them to boycott its product after Mahathir criticised the Citizenship Amendment Act. He had been also critical of India over the Kashmir issue.

As Malaysian palm refiners stare at a massive loss of business, Mahathir said his government would find a solution. Indian refiners and traders have shifted almost all palm oil purchases to Indonesia, despite having to pay a $10 per tonne premium over Malaysian prices.

Meanwhile, citing reports that the Centre is considering issuing import licences to state agencies and private organisations, the Solvent Extractors Association of India urged the government to meaningfully restrict such imports, else it could open the floodgates for Malaysian palm oil.

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