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Malaysia Worried for Palm Oil as India Curbs Supply Over PMs Stand

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday, 14 January, said that he is concerned about India's new curb on palm oil import after Mohamad's statement on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

“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 see that if something goes wrong, we will have to say it,” Mahathir was quoted by news agency Reuters as saying.

The Malaysian PM further said that he would rather continue speaking up against “wrong things”, even if it costs his country financially, the report said.

India is the largest buyer of edible oils. Last week, the country changed its rules which traders have said ‘effectively bans import of palm oil from Malaysia,’ the world's second largest manufacturer after Indonesia, the report said.

This move, according to Reuters, comes after Mahathir's criticism of India's religion-based Citizenship Amendment Act. He had earlier spoken against the government's move to withdraw Article 370, that gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Mahathir has said that his government will find a solution to the palm oil crisis.

" “If we allow things to go wrong and think only about the money involved, then I think a lot of wrong things will be done, by us and by other people.”" - Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister, Malaysia

It was earlier reported that the Indian government had informally instructed traders to stay away from Malaysian palm oil. Indian traders are now forced to buy Indonesian product at a $10 per tonne higher price than the Malaysian product.

The Foreign Ministry, despite denying that the curbs are not country-specific, said that the status of the relationship between two countries is something businesses would consider.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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