Tun M commends ban on Israeli ships, citing failed peace efforts

20 Dec 2023 08:14pm
Pix for illustration purpose only. - Photo courtesy of Westports Malaysia
Pix for illustration purpose only. - Photo courtesy of Westports Malaysia

SHAH ALAM - Former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has endorsed the government's latest move to block the entry of ships from the Israel-based company ZIM into Malaysian ports.

Dr Mahathir stressed the importance of protesting Israel's harsh and unjust treatment of Palestinians.

“Israel’s excessive and inhumane actions towards the Palestinians should be condemned, and any possible protest actions should be taken,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

This announcement follows a statement made earlier today by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar declared that the Transport Ministry has implemented an immediate and permanent ban on ZIM's ships.

This action, he explained, is a reaction to Israel's disregard for fundamental human rights and its breach of international law through ongoing violence and oppression against Palestinians.

Anwar also noted that this decision overturns a previous policy established in 2002, which permitted ZIM-owned vessels to enter Malaysian ports.

Dr Mahathir reflected on this earlier decision, noting it was made in the hope of fostering peace between Palestine and Israel.

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He recalled that the Malaysian government had even welcomed the Israeli cricket team to participate in sporting events in the country, hoping it would demonstrate Malaysia's ability to coexist peacefully with various religious communities.

“The government even allowed the Israeli cricket team (to take part in sporting events in Malaysia), hoping its citizens could see that the predominantly Muslim population of Malaysia could co-exist with people of other religions.

“Unfortunately, all these efforts were futile as Israel subsequently continued to demonstrate its brutality and persistently killed Palestinian citizens,” he said.

Dr Mahathir clarified that allowing ZIM ships to dock in Malaysia was never an endorsement of the Israeli government or its policies but was simply a logistical arrangement.

The government today decided to ban the Israel-based shipping company following calls by BDS Malaysia, a movement that promotes boycotts against Israeli interests.

The government had also decided to prohibit ships flying the Israeli flag from docking at any Malaysian port.

Vessels heading for Israel are also prohibited from loading cargo at Malaysian ports.