Malaysia remains neutral for Russia-Ukrainian war

Malaysia will continue to work with the international community to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis, minister says


MALAYSIA is committed to remaining neutral in the ongoing Russia-Ukrainian war, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah (picture) said.

In a written reply to the Dewan Rakyat today, Saifuddin said Malaysia will continue to work with the international community to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis in Ukraine, and that Malaysia does not support either side of the conflict.

“As a sovereign nation, Malaysia will remain committed to a policy of neutrality. We do not wish to be drawn into any political disputes or conflicts,” he added.

The minister also said that the Foreign Affairs Ministry is working closely with the relevant authorities to monitor the situation in Ukraine, and to ensure that the supply of food imports into the country will not be affected.

His response came following a query from Kota Raja MP Mohamad Sabu who asked whether the conflict will affect Malaysia’s trade with other countries, in which the minister said the impact of the war on Malaysia’s trade is still being monitored.

“Total trade between Malaysia and Russia (0.4% or RM8.78 billion) and Ukraine (0.1% or RM1.46 billion) was RM10.242 billion, which is 0.5% of Malaysia’s total global trade volume.

“It is common knowledge that disruptions to the supply chain will affect the world trade sector, and Malaysia is no exception. Since the outbreak of the conflict on Feb 24, 2022, the number of exports between Malaysia and Russia and Ukraine has recorded a decline.

“However, the decline had only a minimal impact on the overall performance of Malaysia’s export sector,” Saifuddin added.

The minister said the chip manufacturing industry has been affected by this conflict. Malaysia contributes 13% to the world’s electric and electronic chip testing and packaging sector.

“This sector is affected because Russia and Ukraine are producers of neon and palladium, which are the main materials in the manufacture of semi-conductors. This will lead to a reduction in exports of these components to world markets, especially in continental Europe,” he explained.

According to him, the government, through the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI), is constantly implementing proactive measures to reduce the sporadic impact on the national economy as a result of the conflict. Among others, the government is committed to boosting the country’s international trade and investment performance by encouraging the exploration of new markets with the country’s trading countries not involved in the conflict.

“This is implemented through the commitment of tariff concessions under 16 free trade agreements in force and ratified by Malaysia, in particular with source countries for the raw/semi-raw/processed materials manufacturing industry of Malaysia’s export products,” he added.

“Apart from that, the government, through MITI, also always encourages the local industry to diversify export substitution products to seize the new market demand opportunities that arise as a result of the conflict,” Saifuddin said.