MALAYSIA and Indonesia have openly denounced the high-profile killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a rare move that threatens to rattle Muslim ties with the Gulf state.
Calling the murder an act of “extreme cruelty”, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the death was “not acceptable” and that his country did not support the killing of government critics.
“We too have people that we do not like, but we don’t kill them,” Dr Mahathir said during a forum in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, as quoted by The Star.
“Luckily, last time I too was one of those people who were not liked. However, if we have a system like the Arabs, maybe we too will be unable to speak today.”
The Malaysian premier also said the country was “fortunate” that it did not have such practices.
Dr Mahathir’s remarks came amid calls by his Indonesian counterpart Joko “Jokowi” Widodo for a “transparent and thorough” investigation into Khashoggi’s death.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, maintains close ties with Saudi Arabia and has “expressed concern” over the killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which the kingdom initially denied for weeks.
Khashoggi’s killing has drawn international criticism, prompting the kingdom on Sunday to describe it as a “huge and grave mistake”, while adding that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had not been aware of the case, according to Reuters.
“Indonesia hopes the investigation being carried out is transparent and thorough,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters after Jokowi’s meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, which she attended.
Retno met Al-Jubeir at the presidential palace on the outskirts of Jakarta, the capital, to discuss several subjects, including the Khashoggi case.
Retno said al-Jubeir had conveyed a “statement and explanation” to Jokowi about the case, but she declined to elaborate. She is scheduled to hold talks with al-Jubeir in Jakarta on Tuesday.
In 2017, King Salman became the first Saudi monarch to visit the Southeast Asian nation in nearly five decades and signed a range of cooperation pacts.
His speech comes as US President Donald Trump said he was “not satisfied” with Riyadh’s explanation in the case that has tarnished the image of the powerful Saudi Crown Prince.
A tough critic of the Saudi Crown Prince, Khashoggi, 59, disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 to collect a document for his upcoming marriage.
A few days later, a Turkish government source said police believed he was murdered by a team sent to Istanbul, and on Oct 17, a Turkish newspaper said he was tortured and decapitated inside the consulate.
After more than two weeks of near silence, Saudi Arabia admitted on Saturday that Khashoggi was killed in an altercation at the consular office — an explanation rejected by friends and foes alike.