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Need to be frank: Malaysia PM on India palm oil curbs after CAA remark

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Kuala Lumpur, Jan 14: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad said on Tuesday he will continue speaking out against "wrong things" even if it costs his country financially, amid growing concerns about India's curbs on palm oil imports after a diplomatic row.

Mahathir Mohamad

"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," the 94-year-old premier was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"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," he added.

The Indian government had last week said that the palm curbs were not country-specific but that "for any commercial trading, the status of relationship between any two countries" is something a business would consider.

India, the world's largest importer of vegetable oils, buys nearly 15 million tonnes annually. Of this, palm oil comprises 9 million tonnes and the rest 6 million tonnes of soybean and sunflower oil. Indonesia and Malaysia are the two countries which supply palm oil.

Malaysia produces 19 million tonnes of palm oil in a year, while Indonesia produces 43 million tonnes, the trade data showed.

The move comes in the backdrop of remarks by Malaysia on the new citizenship law and Kashmir issue.

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