Malaysia: Professor asks students to boycott HP laptops

HP laptops
HP is said to provide technology and services to the Israeli military. Source: Shutterstock

A University of Malaya professor is urging students to use their economic power to pressure the Israeli government to end its occupation of Palestine. 

Information technology developer Hewlett-Packard (HP) as well as other companies, such as shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy Industries and machine-makers Caterpillar, are directly complicit with the illegal occupation, according to Prof Mohd Nazari Ismail, who was speaking in a forum “Advancing the Palestinian Cause: Advocacy and Activism in the Malaysian Context” today.

As HP supplies technology and services used by the Israeli military to facilitate its checkpoints and illegal settlements, the duty is said to be on consumers, including students, to boycott the brand.

“We should be saying to HP we will not buy your machines, your computers. Your computers may be good. but we cannot let them help the injustices that are going on over there,” Nazari said, adding that consumers should look to buying from other brands.

“Students can easily do that.”

Nazari (centre) during the forum. Photo: Lee Lian Kong

Nazari was referring to promotion drives HP usually holds on campuses to attract students to buy their products like laptops and printers. Students should not only state their refusal to buy, but also lay down their reasons i.e. the company’s links to the occupation, to the company representatives as well as to other interested students.

“And that is your contribution to the fight for justice on Palestine.”

Nazari is the chairman of the Malaysian faction of the international Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, which uses a bottom-up approach to put economic pressure on Israel. Its three goals are the end to Israel’s occupation and to dismantle its illegal walls and settlements, full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

While BDS’ scope and efficacy are still under debate, Nazari believes the movement is growing stronger by the day since 2005, pointing towards US presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton’s promise to get rid of the BDS movement if she was elected as proof of the power the movement holds.

Earlier this year, the Israeli Parliament had passed a law to bar any individuals or representatives of groups supporting BDS-type boycotts from entering the country.

Al Jazeera also reported two multinationals linked to Israel – Veolia and G4S – have lost billions of dollars due to BDS campaigns.

This is not the first time a call for boycott is made in Malaysia, which does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel. Boycott calls in the Southeast Asian country usually ebbs and flows according to the intensity of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

In 2014, several Malaysian Muslim organisations held a month-long ban on buying products from companies which they deemed were in support of a Zionist regime, such as McDonald’s and Coca Cola, although many of them were later found to be unverified claims.

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