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Malaysia says won’t recognize unilateral sanctions on supporters of Palestinian groups


KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia said on Tuesday it will not recognize unilateral sanctions in response to a proposed US law to level sanctions against foreign supporters of Hamas and other militant groups operating in Palestine.

The Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, aimed at cutting off international financing to the groups, was passed by the US House of Representatives last week and is awaiting voting by the Senate.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said his government was closely monitoring developments on the bill’s passage, adding that it could affect Malaysia only if it is proven to provide material support to Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“Any sanctions against Malaysia can also affect the assessment of the US government and US companies towards Malaysia, as well as affect US companies’ investment opportunities in Malaysia,” Mr. Anwar said in a written reply to parliament on Tuesday.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause and has advocated for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Top Hamas leaders in the past have often visited Malaysia and met with its premiers.

Mr. Anwar previously rejected Western pressure to condemn Hamas and said the US had raised concerns with Malaysia regarding its stance on Palestine.  — Reuters

Neil Banzuelo

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