Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia’s firm stance on matters relating to Israel will not affect its diplomatic relations with other countries, said Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said countries that have diplomatic and trade relations with Malaysia were very well aware of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s stance on such issues.
“Our foreign policy is to be friends and to have bilateral trade with all countries, but if on certain occasions, we have some differences in opinions, it should not affect those diplomatic and trade relations,” Saifuddin told reporters after the launch of the Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs Special Issues at the Sunway University near here on Monday.
He said this in response to the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) decision to strip Malaysia of the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships following Malaysia’s decision not to allow Israeli swimmers to participate in the championships.
“I know there are questions about why sports are being dragged into becoming a political issue, but the issue of Palestine is not an ordinary political issue, it is an extraordinary issue. It just so happens that it involves sports,” the Malaysian foreign minister said.
On Sunday, the IPC stripped Malaysia of the right to host the event scheduled to be held in Kuching between July 29 and August 4. It said that the Malaysian Home Ministry failed to provide the necessary guarantees that Israeli swimmers could participate in the championships safely and free from discriminations.