LANGKAWI, March 26 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today clarified that his previous remarks that the government could retaliate by buying fighter jets from China if the European Union (EU) continues its discriminatory stance against Malaysian palm oil was merely to voice out the problems the country could face.
He made it clear that there was no trade war between Malaysia and European countries.
“I am telling the world that it is grossly unfair for a rich country to prevent poorer countries from getting richer by not buying their products. That was all,” he said during a press conference at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019 (LIMA’19) here.
Dr Mahathir said he had met with delegations from France, Russia and Japan.
“They have expressed interest to work with Malaysia and during the discussions, there were proposals to build plants to manufacture whole aircraft or aircraft parts in Malaysia,” he said.
When asked if Malaysia plans to buy new Russian fighter jets, he said the country is interested in Russian aircraft but has no plans to purchase them at this moment.
“Our old aircraft can still perform very well as we can see from this morning’s aerial display,” he said.
He said the old aircraft, if maintained and serviced properly, can last longer.
“I was impressed by the aerial display this morning, the performance by our fighter jets was impressive and if we have the money, I would like to buy a few hundred of them,” he said.
On LIMA’19, he said the international event has become a regular feature in the world of aerospace and engineering.
“The first day of the show is a great success,” he said.
Dr Mahathir added that Malaysia had received many investment proposals today.
“We need to look into these proposals and we know, all this can’t happen in a day, we need time so we have to wait for these proposals to materialise,” he said.
LIMA’19 will be hosting business delegations from 31 nations and a total 390 defence and commercial companies.
A total 195 international businesses will be displaying their products and services throughout the five-day exhibition which will see some 42,000 trade visitors attending.