Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, has announced a comprehensive ban on all shipping activities connected to Israel. Specifically targeting Zim, a major Israeli shipping company, this bold step reflects Malaysia’s unwavering pro-Palestinian stance and refusal to acknowledge Israel as a nation.
The prime minister’s announcement signifies a stark reversal of Malaysia’s long-established relationship with Zim, dating back to 2002, when the country initially permitted Zim vessels to make port calls. Highlighting this decision as a direct response to Israel’s actions in Gaza, Ibrahim declared a “permanent ban” on the company’s operations within Malaysia.
Effective immediately, the Transport Ministry confirmed that all Zim vessels will be denied entry into Malaysian ports. This move, while aimed at signalling Malaysia’s stance, is expected to impact various stakeholders in the shipping and logistics sectors. It is reported that the first vessel to be affected by this ban is the Zim Rotterdam, registered in Liberia and scheduled for a port call on December 24 originating from China. Subsequent vessels in the lineup, including the Zim Europe and Zim Yantian, are also set to face entry denials.
Adding to the gravity of this decision, Malaysia extended its ban beyond Zim. The government declared an outright refusal of ships bearing the Israeli flag, forbidding them from docking in any Malaysian port. Furthermore, vessels en route to Israel will be barred from loading or unloading cargo at Malaysian terminals.
Other Muslim-majority nations in Asia, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even the Maldives, might consider following suit, potentially creating a regional embargo on Zim and Israeli shipping.