Friday, February 3

Saiffuddin: No discussions held with Russia on direct flights, semiconductor exports

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Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said as a country involved in international trade, Malaysia was open to any airline to operate flights to the country. – AFP photo

PUTRAJAYA (May 7): The Malaysian government has never held any discussions with Russia regarding direct flights between the two countries by the Russian airline, Aeroflot, and the export of semiconductors and electronics to the country.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said as a country involved in international trade, Malaysia was open to any airline to operate flights to the country.

At the same time, the export of semiconductors and electronics were never discussed between the governments of the two countries, instead it is more to business to business links.

“I want to explain this because I am worried that there might be a misunderstanding and Malaysia’s interests may be affected,” he told the media in an interview at his office here today.

He said this to refute a report by Sputnik News Agency in late April which quoted Malaysian Ambassador to Russia Datuk Bala Chandran Tharman as saying that Aeroflot would have direct flights between St. Petersburg or Moscow and Kuala Lumpur soon.

In the report, Bala Chandran was also quoted as saying that Malaysia would consider the opportunity to sell semiconductors and electronics to Russia besides Malaysian financial institutions were studying Russia’s financial messaging system in detail and were willing to participate if it met certain criteria.

Saifuddin said his party had also examined the news report and obtained feedback from Bala Chandran and found that some of the matters mentioned in the interview had been quoted out of context.

Following the Sputnik report, several foreign media reported that Malaysia’s action ignored international economic sanctions against Russia due to its conflict with Ukraine.

Restrictions imposed by Western countries in particular also prohibit the export of semiconductors to Russia. – Bernama