Bengaluru: In what can be perceived as a tit-for-tat action and even a punitive measure against Malaysia for  its needless interference in India’s internal matters like abrogation of articles 370 and 35A and the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, India has decided to ban import of refined palm oil. The government released a notification in this regard.

While Malaysia and Indonesia are top producers of palm oil, India remains the biggest importer of the same product.

Last year, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was in the news for his needless remark against India when Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government abrogated articles 370 and 35A.

He had gone to the extent of saying that “India has invaded and occupied Kashmir” at the United Nations General Assembly.

Also Read: Will Malaysia be taught a lesson?

India had reacted strongly as the matter was and is purely an internal affair.

Close on the heels of this remark, the Malaysian Prime Minister embarrassed himself yet again. 

In relation to the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), he was reported to have said, “I am sorry to see that India, which claims to be a secular state, now is taking action to deprive some Muslims of their citizenship. If we do that here, I do not know what will happen. There will be chaos and instability, and everybody will suffer."

Even a cursory glance at what the Malaysian Prime Minister reportedly said would exhibit his ignorance about the issue. As reiterated by the Indian government, the CAA is not to persecute or alienate any of the Indian citizens, including Muslims, but to grant citizenship to around 32000 Hindu migrants from Pakistan.

India had rightfully lodged a protest against the remarks saying that they were “insensitive” and the PM was “ill-informed”.

What gives fillip to India’s move was the step that had been taken by Penang deputy chief minister P Ramasamy.

He had said, “Just as he got it wrong on the Kashmir matter by saying that India invaded and occupied the Muslim dominated province, he is wrong on the matter of the amendment to the citizenship law,” as was quoted by Free Malaysia Today.

In fact, earlier, taking umbrage to his comments on the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A, Indian businessmen had decided to replace Malaysian palm oil imports by buying more oil from Indonesia and increasing edible oil supplies from Ukraine. Incidentally, it’s the first time that India was using its heft as a trade partner to express unhappiness over a political statement.