Malaysia critical of Islamic countries’ role in oil crisis

June 9th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, June 9 (IANS) Malaysia Monday criticised oil-producing Islamic nations, saying they were not interested in helping people deal with the current international oil crisis and were more inclined to follow what the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said. Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said Malaysia would discuss the issue of escalating fuel prices at the next Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Kampala, Uganda from June 18-20.

He stressed that Islamic countries must address the issue immediately because oil is produced largely by them.

“… but they were more inclined to follow what the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were saying rather than assisting the ummah (people),” The Star Online quoted the minister as saying Monday.

“Malaysia would like to suggest that countries of OIC be more concerned in offering solutions to the problem,” Yatim told reporters after delivering his welcoming remark at the third “International Conference of the Muslim World and the West: Bridging the Gap” here.

Like many countries, Malaysia hiked its petroleum and diesel prices last week, reducing subsidies, but in the wake of protests at home announced that there would be no further revision.

Yatim said Malaysia would also like the OIC to speak out on alleviating the effects of the rising food prices that were impacting the whole world.

Asked if he planned to issue a statement on the matter to OPEC, he said: “Yes, that would be desirable but we have a structure to maintain. I have to voice this out to the OIC first. It would be rather untenable to unilaterally voice this to OPEC without consulting my brothers at OIC.

“In the next meeting these would be the pivotal issues. No other rhetoric would supersede.”

Earlier, Yatim said the conference would discuss issues like improving the Muslim world-West engagement and understanding Islam in a globalised world.

He said a chairman’s report on the outcome of the conference would be conveyed to the United Nations and the Alliance of Civilisations (AoC).

“It is Malaysia’s intention to work closely with and be supportive of the AoC process.”

The minister said Muslims were deemed as marauders and terrorists while the West largely thought that Islam was Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda was Islam.

He blamed the Western media - which he said was more concerned about sensationalising terror, captivity and war - for the misconception.

He then called on the Islamic media to project the right image of the Muslim world.

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