Mahathir says Muslims should use oil as a weapon
AFP - Thursday October 3, 2002
Oil should be used as a weapon to protect the
interests of Muslims, Malaysia's Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad said.
"If we reduce oil output, prices will rise. It can be
used as a weapon to protect the interest of Muslims,"
Malaysia is due to take over the chairmanship of the
Organisation of the Islamic conference (OIC) next
"Oil is the only thing Muslim nations have which is
needed by the rest of the world. If they can cut back
on supply, people will not be oppressive on them,"
The veteran Southeast Asian leader, who has led a
moderate Muslim government for the past 21 years, was
replying to a question after opening a local Islamic
convention in this southeastern Malaysian city.
"When we are weak, we will be exploited. We are now
seeing worldwide Muslims are being exploited.
"To avoid exploitation, we must be strong. We must
reduce our dependence on others and acquire new
"If we have oil, it can be used as a weapon.
"OPEC (the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting
Countries) should control the price of oil but there
is no unity in OPEC.
"When the oil price goes up, there are other nations
that increase output. If we reduce oil output, prices
will rise. It can be used as a weapon to protect the
interest of Muslims."
Malaysia is an oil producer, but is a net importer and
is not a member of OPEC.
Mahathir, however, will chair the summit meeting of
the 57-member OIC in Kuala Lumpur in October next year
before stepping down and handing over to his deputy,
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The 76-year-old prime minister, who held talks with US
President George W. Bush in May, has been hailed by
the White House for his support of the war against
Previously seen as a scathing critic of the West,
Mahathir has emerged since the September 11 terror
attacks as something of a spokesman for moderate
Islam, defending the faith while excoriating
extremists who resort to violence.
His government has arrested 63 alleged Islamic
militants in a crackdown which began before the
September attacks, some of whom allegedly have links
to the al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden.
But on Tuesday, Mahathir criticised the US for what he
called "anti-Muslim hysteria" after his country was
placed on a list of 'terrorist-risk" countries.
Those comments came after it was also revealed that he
and his deputy prime minister were subjected to tough
security checks during separate visits to the US.
Abdullah was required to remove his shoes and belt,
while Mahathir said a security agent who boarded his
jet in New York during his trip to see Bush had
behaved in an uneccessarily "rough" manner.
The US embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday expressed
regret for any "inappropriate treatment" of Malaysia's
leaders and pledged to try to ensure that it would not
Mahathir said Thursday he accepted the US apology but
added: "I was in my private plane. I am not going to
carry a bomb in a government plane. Their approach
towards me was rough but that is their country. If
they want to be rude, we don't go to their country."