- The Straits Times
Malaysia needs to stay prepared as it could become a victim of escalating tensions between the US and China, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has warned.
The 94-year-old said on Monday (Oct 21) morning that Malaysia, an export-reliant economy, could eventually also become a target for sanctions.
“Economically we are linked to both markets, and physically we are also caught in between for geographical reasons. There are even suggestions that we ourselves would be a target for sanctions,” Reuters reported him as saying.
According to Reuters, the US, China and Singapore are Malaysia’s three biggest export markets.
“It is disappointing to see the proponents of free trade now indulging in restrictive trade on a grand scale,” Bernama quoted him as saying.
Speaking at the the ISIS Praxis Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mahathir added that Malaysia would need to become more competitive and build its own “world-class companies that can take on rivals”, the state news agency reported.
The nation is also looking to regional collaborations within Asean to cushion the impact of the trade war, which Mahathir warned could become the next Cold War, Bloomberg reported.
Just last week, Reuters reported that India – one of the biggest importers of Malaysian palm oil – was mulling trade restrictions on the South-east Asian nation.
India’s lawmakers are reportedly upset over a comment on Jammu and Kashmir that Mahathir made during his UN address in September. The premier later repeated his statement on Twitter, and was slammed by Indian netizens for insinuating that India had “invaded” the disputed region.
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