Friday, September 26, 2014

Hypocrisy and Malaysia

AP Photo/Mark Baker

Malaysia is staunchly pro-Palestine. The reason is political. But on economic matters, it is more than willing to do business with Israel, the supposed enemy. 

Money talks after all. In fact, The Times of Israel carried a September 14, 2014 report titled “Malaysia favors Palestinians but buys from Israel” – which is painting the country in embarrassing hues of blushing red. 

Official data published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics tells of a booming, but very discreet, trade relationship that is blossoming between the two countries, despite a hawkish prime minister in Jerusalem and Najib Razak’s pro-Palestinian government in Kuala Lumpur. Total trade between the two countries in 2013 reached $1.529 billion, almost double that of 2012, according to the CBS. That figure consists mostly of Israeli exports, at $1.457 billion. Trade continues to accelerate: Between January and July this year, Israeli exports to Malaysia soared to $884.7 million, a 27% jump over the same period last year (Webpage!

The Malaysian government is obviously in denial. A Bernama report on August 26, 2014 had quoted International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed as saying that Malaysia was standing firm on its foreign policy which did not allow any diplomatic relations to be established with Israel. 

No diplomacy, but trade is okay lah!
On November 16, 2011, the then International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Mukhriz son of Mahathir in his Twitter post confirmed that despite Malaysia not having diplomatic relations with Israel, there is trade between companies in both countries. 

“Much of Israel-Malaysia trade is electronic components or parts incorporated into machinery or equipment by large foreign companies operating here,” he had said. “Upon request from large foreign investors here, in 1996 cabinet instructed Miti to approve import from and export to Israel,” Mukhriz explained. 

[In case, you didn’t know, the Prime Minister in 1996 was none other than Mahathir Mohamad!]
Here are the facts. Malaysian products have been exported to Israel through third-party countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong, making Malaysia the 32nd biggest exporter of goods to Israel and 12th biggest importer of Israeli goods, according to the International Trade Center. 

Mustapa Mohamed admitted as much. On August 27, 2014, he himself said that Putrajaya has no control over Malaysian goods that end up in Israel. 

If this is not hypocrisy, I don’t know what is! 

And Mustapa agrees. Despite the trade relations, he had stressed that Malaysia maintains its foreign policy against establishing diplomatic ties with Israel. “(The) existence of these (trade) practices do not compromise the Malaysian government’s stance in supporting the call by the international community for a stop to the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” he said. 

Mustapa wants to have his cake and eat it too! 

So, all this while, we have been trading with the Zionist regime and at the same time, we give false hope to the Palestinians. My government’s sympathy for the Palestinians is insincere and duplicitous. Really, we don’t give a shit about them!

Yesterday, the Sunway University Toastmasters Club had their Installation Dinner at the Training Restaurant in Sunway University.

A great evening was had by all. The organizers certainly did a marvelous job!

And it was really great to receive recognition from my home club – I was the Toastmaster of the Year 2013-2014.

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