(Malaysiakini) Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today called for a global boycott of the US dollar and US-made products, including Coca-Cola, in protest over Washington's backing of Israel.
Mahathir, who during his two decades in power was a leading voice in the Muslim world, said people had to take action against the United States over its support for Israel, which is conducting a military offensive in Gaza.
"If you stop accepting US currency, the US can't trade and can't make any money, it will become very poor and it will have to stop the production of more and more weapons in order to kill people," he told a press conference.
"People will not die if they don't drink Coca-Cola," said the ex-premier.
"If the people don't want to drink Coca-Cola, governments cannot force the people to drink Coco-Cola," he added.
And since governments are scared to act against the US, Mahathir urged the people instead to take action in boycotting the powerful nation.
Mahathir, who is also the chairperson of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War, also added that Malaysia should stop purchasing weaponry from the United States.
"We can buy weapons from the Russian's as an alternative, like the MiGs and Sukhoi (fighter jets)," he said.
Asked on the repercussions of boycotting US-based products, Mahathir said that with every action "there is a price that we must pay but if we keep quiet on these things, matters are only going to get worse".
"We hoped that the World War II would have put an end to wars... but today's wars cannot be justified and it is not an option to settle disputes between nations".
These wars regard the whole country as a battlefield and innocent people are being killed as a result, he lamented.
"We must not allow ourselves to be cowed. Even if we do little things, I think we can achieve quite a lot," he said.
"It is strange that this country (US) which is suppose to be fighting against the Nazi to relieve the world of oppression, is now the country that is oppressing the world," he added.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi this morning announced that Malaysia would be extending humanitarian efforts of US$1 million to aid the Palestinian people.
Abdullah had also called for ceasefire and assured that Malaysia's representative to the UN would raise the issue with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of developing nations and the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).