Is Malaysia preparing to break Western sanctions, and supply Russia with electronics and semiconductors?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Malaysia Preparing To Supply Russia With Semiconductors!
People are sharing a GizChina article that claims that Malaysia is preparing to supply Russia with electronics and semiconductors against Western sanctions!
Here is what the article says… It’s long so please feel free to skip to the next section for the facts…
It looks like Malaysia is prepping to supply electronics and semiconductors to Russia amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine. This piece of information has been confirmed by the Malaysian Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Bala Chandran Tharman.
Truth : Malaysia NOT Preparing To Supply Russia With Semiconductors!
The truth is – GizChina made up this story, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : Mahathir Is No Longer Prime Minister Of Malaysia
GizChina does not seem to be aware that Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has not been the Prime Minister of Malaysia since he stepped down on 24 February 2020.
They hilariously used the photo of Dr. Mahathir with Russian President Vladimir Putin that was taken at the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore, in 2018.
Mahathir wasn’t even mentioned in their article. They could have used a photo of the Malaysian Ambassador to Russia, Bala Chandran Tharman…
Please don’t tell them they thought that this was a picture of the Malaysian Ambassador to Russia with Putin…
Fact #2 : GizChina Offered No Evidence
GizChina offered ZERO evidence that Malaysia is preparing to go against Western sanctions, and supply Russia with semiconductors.
The writer, Vinay Patel, claimed that “this piece of information has been confirmed by the Malaysian ambassador to the Russian Federation, Bala Chandran Tharman“.
However, he offered no evidence to back up that claim. There was no link to any statement, or a quote of Bala Chandran confirming that Malaysia would be supplying Russia with semiconductors.
Fact #3 : Bala Chandran Did Not Say Malaysia Will Supply Russia With Semiconductors
Despite other sources claiming that Bala Chandran made that claim to RIA Novosti and Sputnik News, I could find no reference in their official websites.
The only legitimate news source I could find was a Bernama report on 23 April 2022, which stated :
In another development, Bala Chandran believes Malaysia would consider an opportunity to sell semiconductors and electronics to Russia.
“The Malaysian industry is market-oriented and I am absolutely sure that any request from the Russian party concerning such products will be considered,” the ambassador said.
He stressed that he was not aware of any current talks on the issues between the two countries.
Bala Chandran, as far as I can tell, never said that Malaysia would go against Western sanctions, and actually supply Russia with semiconductors.
He only said that “Malaysia would consider” the “opportunity to sell semiconductors and electronics to Russia“.
This is no different from a lady telling you that “she would consider” going out on a date with you. That could possibly happen, but it does NOT mean she actually agreed to go out on a date with you.
Fact #4 : Malaysia Is A Democracy With A Market Economy
Bala Chandran also pointed out that the Malaysian market is “market-oriented“. Malaysia has a market economy, and is not controlled by the government.
Malaysia is also a democratic country, not an autocratic / authoritarian state like China, where the government has massive power to control private / public enterprises.
In short, the Malaysian government cannot and does not dictate who Malaysian companies should sell to. Even if Malaysia wanted to sell semiconductors to Russia, it cannot simply order companies to do so.
Bala Chandran also clarified, he isn’t aware of any ongoing conversations at the government level. In other words, the Malaysian government itself has made no effort to sell or market semiconductors to Russia.
Fact #5 : Malaysia Does Not Own Semiconductor Companies
Malaysia has a number of homegrown semiconductor companies that provide critical support to multinational corporations like Intel, AMD, Agilent, Renata, Osram, Infineon and Broadcom.
However, they are private and public-listed companies and not owned by the Malaysian government, or beholden to it. Practically all of them have ties to Western companies that have to comply with Western sanctions against Russia.
Therefore, the Malaysian government cannot dictate who these companies should supply their products and services to. It can only say that “any request from the Russian party concerning such products will be considered“, and nothing more.
Fact #6 : Even Chinese Companies Are Avoiding Russia
Despite China coming out against economic sanctions imposed on Russia, Chinese companies are studiously avoiding breaking Western sanctions.
Even Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, explicitly said that “China is not a party to the crisis, nor does it want the sanctions to affect China.”
Companies placed under US sanctions, for example, will have all of their US assets and banned from trading with US companies.
If China does not dare to break Western sanctions against Russia, do you really expect Malaysia to break them? Do you expect private and public-listed companies to break Western sanctions?
As a warning shot, Singapore electronics wholesaler Alexsong Pte Ltd. was placed under US sanctions for facilitating “transactions that helped Russia evade sanctions“.
The truth is, for most companies, the Russian market is much too small to risk losing access to Western markets, capital and technologies.
Variants of this FAKE NEWS are now being shared in pro-Russia and pro-China websites.
Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out!
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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