The Malaysian government seems to be rather upset about what has happened in Gaza.

Perdana, the website of the peace organisation,set up by the Malaysian Government shows the depth of feeling (1) and there have also been public protests (2).

Indeed, the Malaysians are part of the international UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People – the other countries being Sri Lanka (we jest not!) and Senegal (3)

In parallel, however, Dr Mahathir Mohamad – the former Prime Minister of Malaysia – has travelled to Sri Lanka to encourage the government and business leaders. And in a detailed interview, he has argued that the human rights probe in Sri Lanka should be internal as it is “an internal matter” (4).

Dr Mahathir goes on to explain why President Rajapaksa doesn’t need to worry about being called a Sinhalese extremist – presumably a reference to the judgement that Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore, made about Rajapaksa (5).

According to Mahathir, “if you work for your people you will eventually be exonerated”. Clearly, he doesn’t think of Tamils or human rights defenders or independent journalists as Sri Lankan people.

But these double standards will also backfire on the Palestinians.(6) If Malaysia wants to be taken seriously on the international stage, now would be a good time for its government to start acting with more consistency or it will become simply the mirror image of what it accuses the US of being.