Hanoi (VNA) – Malaysia on March 24 announced that the country may stop buying new fighter jets from European arms companies in retaliation against a plan of the European Union (EU) to curb palm oil use.

The Southeast Asian country is the world's second largest palm oil producer after neighbouring Indonesia, and recently threatened to challenge the EU's plan to phase out the use of palm oil in biofuels at the World Trade Organization.

In his strongest statement yet on the proposed curb, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said his country could look elsewhere to upgrade its air force fleet of Russian Mig-29 fighters, in effect abandoning plans to purchase France's Rafale jet or the Eurofighter Typhoon.

He stressed that if the EU keeps on taking action against Malaysia’s palm oil, the country will think of buying airplanes from China or any other country.

Mahathir's remarks come ahead of a five-day international defence exhibition starting on March 25 on the resort island of Langkawi.

In his letter to French President Emmanuel Macron in January, Mahathir state that Malaysia may look to restrict import of French products if the European country fails to withdraw plans to ban palm biodiesel.

French lawmakers in December 2018 had voted to remove palm oil from the country’s biofuel scheme, starting January 2020.

The proposed EU delegated act, slated to be tabled before the European Parliament in April this year, supplements the EU Renewable Energy Directive II to restrict and ban palm oil biofuel altogether by 2030.-VNA