Israelis should not come to Malaysia, says Mahathir
Published on: Sunday, January 20, 2019
By: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) has stressed that Israelis should not come to Malaysia as the country does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia had the right to keep its border closed to certain people, especially from countries the nation feels are doing a lot of wrong things.

“Many nations today are seeing outsiders coming to their countries and are not very happy about it. They overthrow their governments because they allow immigrants to come in.

“So, a country has the right to keep its border closed to certain people, that is why the border is there. But in Malaysia, we have no diplomatic relations with Israel at all and we feel that they are doing a lot of wrong things but getting away with them because nobody dares to say anything against them,” he said after delivering the Oxford Union talk that was broadcast live by Astro Awani from London early Saturday.

The Prime Minister said this when asked by Oxford Union President Daniel Wilkinson on Malaysia’s ban on Israeli athletes’ participation in the World Para Swimming Championships to be held in Sarawak in July.

The talk and interview thereafter were also uploaded on Dr Mahathir’s official Facebook account.

Swimmers from some 70 countries are expected to compete in the July 29-Aug 4 championship, an important milestone before next year’s Tokyo Paralympics.

Asked whether it was fair to penalise the Israelis rather than the Israeli government, the Prime Minister said it seems that most Israelis support the stand taken by their government.

“We can’t do very much about the Israeli government, they are very powerful. So, we don’t say anything about the Israeli government but we don’t have to show friendship towards them.

Dr Mahathir also said he did not mind that his remarks towards Israel were deemed as anti-Semitic, noting that it was his right to say anything about Israel’s action on Palestine.

“I can’t understand this. We talk about freedom of speech and yet you cannot say anything against Israel, against the Jews, why is that so? If we are free to say what we like, we can say it, but we are being regarded as anti-Semitic by the Jews. 

“That is their right to hold such opinion on me, this is my right to tell them also that they have been doing a lot of wrong things,” he said, drawing applause from the crowd.

Meanwhile, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim backed the stance of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Malaysian Government to prohibit Israeli athletes from competing in the 2019 World Para Swimming Championship in Kuching, Sarawak this July.

“I think the Cabinet considers this as one of the ways to convey very strong position against Israel’s transgression on Palestinians.

“They (Israel) completely ignore the international community pressure, so I think the Cabinet has made the right decision,” he told the media after the proclamation ceremony of Kampung Kerinchi and the launching of Lembah Pantai MP’s Office in Kuala Lumpur Saturday.

Also present were Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil and Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

On Jan 10, Dr Mahathir said the Government maintained its stand of prohibiting Israeli athletes from competing in the swimming championship, and if they insist on participating it would be a violation of the ban.

Prior to this, PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang also expressed his support at the stance of the Government, which he considered to be accurate and in line with Malaysia’s foreign policy which has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

In the meantime, commenting on the direct reprimand from some party leaders towards him, Anwar who is also the Port Dickson MP, said he took a gentle approach.

“PKR has a disciplinary bureau, but I will take a softer approach, you want to scream, go ahead,” he said. - Bernama


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