Saturday, 26 February 2022

Why did Malayasia fall in line?


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Why did Malayasia fall in line?

The issues between India and Malaysia made it crucial for Malaysia to export its goods to India as India stopped import of palm oils as well as put restrictions and sanctions on import from Malaysia on the backdrop of controversial statement made by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammed. This provoked India to take some tough decisions over Malaysia which led to sanctions…..

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Malaysia is located in South East Asia occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It's known for its beaches, rainforests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to colonial buildings, busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang and skyscrapers such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers, a major tourist attraction.

Malaysia is one of the most open economies in the world with a trade to GDP ratio averaging over 130% since 2010. Having revised its national poverty line in July 2020, 5.6% of Malaysian households are currently living in absolute poverty. Malaysian Indians or Indian Malaysians are Malaysian citizens of Indian or South Asian ancestry. Today, they form the third-largest group in Malaysia after the Malays and the Chinese. The majority of Malaysian Indians are ethnic Tamils, with other smaller groups such as the Malayalees, Telugus, Sikhs and others.

Islam, Malaysia's official religion is followed by about three-fifths of the population. Islam is one of the most important factors distinguishing a Malay from a non-Malay, and, by law, all Malays are Muslim. The Sikhs, originally from the Indian state of Punjab, largely adhere to their own religion, Sikhism, just as other Indians follow their religion and customs. Malaysians of Indian descent comprise 7.3 percent of the population, and include Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims (Department of Statistics, Malaysia 2010). The term Indian in Malaysia is used to refer to all people from the sub-continent – Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans.


Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad acting naïve angered India when he tweeted that Jammu and Kashmir had been invaded and occupied by India without knowing the facts or history about Kashmir. Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad has admitted that his country's ties with India strained due to his remarks on Kashmir.

In September, 2019, Mahathir raised the Kashmir issue while speaking at the UN General Assembly, drawing strong reaction from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which said India "completely rejects the references made in respect of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral and inalienable part of India."

"We once again call upon the Malaysian leadership to develop better understanding of the facts, including that Pakistan which remains an epic entre of global terrorism, continues to recruit, train, arm and finance cross-border terrorism against India," the MEA said at the time.

Mahathir’s statement was unwarranted show of support to Pakistan knowing very well the how the world sees Pakistan. It is a hub of terrorism and Pakistan terrorists enter Kashmir to provoke the Kashmiris and Indian forces. It was surprising why he raised this issue when he had nothing to gain from it, unless he wanted to project himself as a leader among the Muslim countries. And he paid the price for it.

Malaysia is a small country and is not comparable to any one of the Asian giants. India presently holds a strong position internationally and has a good relationship with all countries across the world except Pakistan. Nobody can dare to talk or act against India as it is believed to be or is a peace loving nation with strong position in its stand on many controversial matters and one cannot deny it to be one of the mighty military power in the world after USA, Russia and China. India is an emerging major economy and is expected to grow faster in the coming years and subsequently overtake Britain and Japan soon.

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India has its economic, political and other interests all over the world, especially in the Indian Ocean. 70% of global sea trade happens through Indian Ocean where India is the major player controlling the maritime affairs in the region.

Being an aspiring super power, India has been projected as a powerful country in Asia. Malaysia's economy is based mainly on export of palm oil industry and computer hardware, rubber and tin and some other oil products. India has been a major importer from Malaysia and it was a major trade partner. India is the biggest palm oil market for Malaysia. But the recent issues between the nations made it crucial for Malaysia to export its goods to India as India stopped import of palm oils as well as put restrictions and sanctions on import from Malaysia on the backdrop of controversial statement made my Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammed which provoked India to take some tough decisions over Malaysia which led to the sanctions.

Malaysia has realized that the sanctions and restrictions by India has a great impact on their economy and do not want to be confronted further and wanted to stay away from the boiling issue and send a peaceful gesture that they are not keen to fight a trade war with powerful nation like India. This compelled Malaysia to restrain itself and not escalate or complicate matters further. And this hastened the exit of Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammed and the people have put him in his place. He should have realized the consequences of his statement. Leaders not fully aware of issues in foreign countries should not make statements without knowing the facts and history of that country before making naive statements, just being influenced by talk of some other country. 


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