India is the world’s largest edible oil buyer while Malaysia is the largest supplier and the world’s second-biggest producer of edible oil. Due to recent dialogues, India has stopped its import from Malaysia. The move came after Mahathir Mohamad – Prime Minister of Malaysia attacked India’s domestic policies which resulted in halting the oil. Malaysia responded that they will not take any retaliatory trade action against India over the boycott of palm oil purchases. Malaysia’s comment on internal matters of India is the culprit and the political rows have begun between the two countries.
“We are too small to take retaliatory action,” said Mr. Mahathir to reporters in Langkawi, a resort island off the western coast of Malaysia. “We have to find ways and means to overcome that," he added. The 94-year-old premier of Muslim-majority Malaysia has criticized New Delhi's new religion-based citizenship law and also accused India of invading the disputed region of Kashmir. Mahathir also criticized India's citizenship law on Monday, saying he believed it was "grossly unfair".
Being a major importer of palm oil from the last five years, India’s move to boycott the import has come as a shocker to Malaysia. India also presented the southeastern Asian country with a challenge in finding new buyers for its palm oil. Malaysian palm futures benchmark fell nearly 10% last week. The reports state that this is the biggest decline in the last 11 years.
Indian Government is also unhappy with Malaysia's refusal to revoke permanent resident status for controversial Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who has lived in Malaysia for about three years and faces charges of money laundering and hate speeches in India. Mahathir said even if the Indian government guarantees a fair trial, Naik faces the real threat of vigilante action and that Malaysia will only relocate the preacher if it can find a third country where he would be safe.