Though Malaysia does not recognise Israel as a state because of its support for Palestine, locally-based companies nevertheless have trade relations with the Jewish state.
International Trade and Industry deputy minister, Mukhriz Mahathir, confirmed this when he revealed that Malaysia has had bilateral trade relations with Israel since 1996.
“Much as I despise anything the Zionist do and despite not having diplomatic relations with Israel, there is trade between companies in both countries,” said Mukhriz, the son of former prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Mukhriz said on micro-blogging site Twitter: “Upon request from large foreign investors here, in 1996 the Cabinet instructed MITI to approve import from and export to Israel.”
He added that the bilateral trade is in the electronics and machinery sectors and that it involved large foreign companies operating in Malaysia.
The relevation comes as a surprise, especially as the trade ties were established during the Mahathir administration.
Mahathir has been a vocal opponent of Israel and continues this stand via his Perdana Leadership Foundation which openly opposes Israeli occupation of Palestinian land - FMT