Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad downplayed threats that the country may switch to China to source its fighter jets instead of the European Union to retaliate against the bloc’s plan to restrict palm oil.
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Malaysian could look elsewhere to upgrade its ageing air force fleet of Russian MiG-29 fighters – in effect abandoning plans to purchase France’s Rafale jet or the Eurofighter Typhoon.
“If they keep on taking action against us, we will think of buying airplanes from China or any other country,” he was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency. “If we have to buy fighter jets, we will consider these China-made jets.”
Malaysia is the world’s biggest palm oil producer after Indonesia.
Palm oil has emerged as a flash-point in a potential trade spat between the EU and top producers Indonesia and Malaysia, which together account for about 85 per cent of global supply. The European Commission this month restricted the types of biofuels from vegetable oil that can be counted toward its renewable-energy goals. The proposed EU curbs have weighed on benchmark palm prices, which have fallen for five straight quarters.
Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy has for several years been weighing the competing merits of France’s Rafale jet and the Eurofighter Typhoon, built by Britain’s BAE Systems, as it looks to buy up to 18 jets to replace its Russian MiG-29 fighters – nearly half of which are grounded.
on July 13, 2017 Malaysia put on hold a $2 billion plan to replace its ageing fleet of combat aircraft, looking instead to upgrade its aerial surveillance capabilities to confront the growing threat of militancy