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Did Anwar lie to Parliament about Hamas being 'fine' with Israeli-linked firms, asks Muhyiddin

The prime minister's claim about Hamas' stance contradicts the Palestinian group's statement on boycotting firms linked to Israel.

3 minute read
Muhyiddin Yassin questions a claim by Anwar Ibrahim that Hamas sees no issue with Malaysia doing business with companies that have close ties to Israel.
Muhyiddin Yassin questions a claim by Anwar Ibrahim that Hamas sees no issue with Malaysia doing business with companies that have close ties to Israel.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's claim that the Palestinian resistance group Hamas has no problem with Malaysia doing business with companies that have close ties with Israel has been questioned by Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin.

The former prime minister was referring to Anwar's response in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday, in which he described those who called on the government to cancel deals with companies accused of complicity in Israeli genocide as "more Hamas than Hamas".

"It sounds good, it's nice for people to hear that we are great fighters. But it's not realistic.

"I have spoken to the leadership of Hamas, the question does not arise. It's like being more Hamas than Hamas," he said in defence of the government's decision to allow a company owned by controversial US fund manager BlackRock to become part of a consortium to run Malaysian airports.

Muhyiddin was referring to a statement released by Hamas hours after Anwar's response, in which the group called on Muslim countries to continue boycotting companies involved in Israeli war crimes.

"He said Hamas had no problem with that. Hamas then issued a statement supporting all boycott measures against Israel.

"Did the prime minister lie in Parliament?" he asked.

The Hamas statement, released early on Wednesday, called on Muslim countries to continue the economic and political boycott of the Israeli state and its supporters, adding that a global campaign had so far achieved "significant accomplishments in undermining the entity's economy, isolating it, and delegitimising it".

It said the boycott efforts are part of a "comprehensive resistance against the Zionist enemy".

"Hamas also confirms that this is its firm and strategic position, and it has not changed, particularly in light of this brutal aggression against our people and the daily massacres committed against our people in the Gaza Strip.

"We call upon the peoples of our Arab and Islamic nations and the free people of the world to support all efforts leading to boycotting and isolating the entity and its backers," the statement added.

Anwar has resisted mounting pressure to cancel a deal that would see BlackRock-owned Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) take a 30% stake in Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB), alongside the government's investment arm Khazanah Nasional and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), both entities under the jurisdiction of the finance ministry led by him.

The move sparked protests from civil society leaders and pro-Palestinian groups who demanded the government to cancel the deal in view of allegations of BlackRock's complicity in Israel's genocidal campaign in Gaza, which has so far killed at least 35,000 people.

Last week, a group of United Nations experts in a joint statement named BlackRock alongside dozens of companies, arms manufacturers and financial institutions, warning them against supplying arms to Israel as they would be complicit in war crimes and genocide.

“These companies, by sending weapons, parts, components, and ammunition to Israeli forces, risk being complicit in serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian laws,” said more than 30 experts and special rapporteurs led by Robert McCorquodale, a member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

The BlackRock issue has emerged as one of Anwar's greatest challenges since his appointment to the top post,and comes against a backdrop of a perception that he is more friendly with the US and Israel, with critics citing past statements including his interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2012 which quoted him as saying that he would "support all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel".