Mahathir tells Uyghurs to make peace with China, slams WUC’s backing of Israel

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad being interviewed by TNS News editor Tengku Noor Shamsiah.

By Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku Abdullah

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 5 – Malaysia Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has urged the Uyghurs to give up their struggle for independence and make peace with China. He also blasted the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) for condemning Hamas and supporting Israel.

He said that there were things that Malaysia could do and things that it could not do in international relations.

In an interview with TNS News at his office in Putrajaya recently, he pointed that China was a very powerful and important trading partner for Malaysia and other countries, and that it would be foolish to antagonise it over the Uyghur issue.

He said that China had the right to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that the Uyghurs should respect that. His comments came in response to an open letter from the Centre for Uyghur Studies (CUS), an advocacy group, Executive Director Abdulhakim Idris.

Abdulhakim issued the letter following Mahathir’s call to the Malaysian government and organisations to cut ties with Uyghur activists. Responding to the letter, Mahathir highlighted the complexities, stating,

“There are things that we can do, and there are things that we cannot do.”

Emphasizing the pragmatism in international relations, he asserted, “We do what we can do but we cannot fight against China. China is a very big trading partner and we want to continue trading with them.”

Mahathir underscored the challenge of Uyghur independence, noting, “They have to find a way of accepting that they cannot become independent anymore because that means fighting against China.”

In his letter Abdulhakim had asked Mahathir to retract his statement and apologise to the Uyghur community for being ignorant on the plights of the Ugyhur.

Responding and acknowledging the accusations, the 98 year-old longest serving Malaysia’s prime minister said “Well, I can retract the statement. I can apologize, but the situation will not change.”

Mahathir further explained his stance on Uyghur affairs, “Emphasizing the geopolitical reality, the fact is that Uyghur, the land is now a part of China. To fight against the Chinese would be very costly and very damaging. So sometimes we have to accept being ruled by others because to obtain independence, to get independence is too costly.

–TNS News