LONDON: The Malaysian Government will continue to support the Palestinian cause and will not yield to pressure from foreign powers on this issue, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

He said as a sovereign nation, Malaysia's stance should be respected, and Malaysia need not worry about potential pressure from foreign powers for being vocal and consistent in advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people.

"We should not be worried because we have our principles in this matter, and we know that for 75 years, Palestine has been oppressed, and neocolonialism was carried out by major powers in denying Palestinian rights.

"Of course, we want to avoid risks and economic restrictions, but if it happens, we will deal with it our way," he said after meeting with the Malaysian diaspora in the United Kingdom (UK) at the Malaysian High Commission Office here last night.

Also present were the Malaysian High Commissioner to the UK Datuk Zakri Jaafar, and MARA Chairman Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.

Ahmad Zahid said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's outspoken voice in advocating for this issue clearly represents the Malaysian people, who come from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds and prioritise the values of unity.

Last Tuesday, Anwar, during his speech at the Malaysia Stands with Palestine Rally in Kuala Lumpur, revealed that he had received numerous threats from foreign countries due to Malaysia's firm stance in defending the rights of the Palestinian people.

Earlier, Ahmad Zahid, who is on a four-day working visit to the UK, also held meetings with several House of Lords and House of Commons members, including Rushanara Ali, Wajid Iltaf Khan, Baroness Uddin and Catherine West.

"During the meetings, I also stressed Malaysia's strong commitment to supporting the Palestinian struggle and urged the international community to set aside differences and work to alleviate the situation and provide humanitarian aid to the people in Palestine," he said.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Minister of Rural and Regional Development, also held a meeting with the UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, Therese Coffey, to explore the potential for future cooperation between Malaysia and the UK.

He said among the information shared was how the UK government provides financial assistance to new entrepreneurs, such as tax incentives, to stimulate businesses in rural areas.

Ahmad Zahid said the UK government has a prosperity fund of GBP180 million to support business activities, including rural economic diversification that provides startup financing and grants for new businesses.

"We also discussed matters about rural development, and we did not only learn about physical development and apprenticeship undertaken by the younger generation in rural areas here but also the planning by their respective local governments.

"As we know, in the UK, regions such as Scotland and Wales have been given autonomy to exercise their rural powers. We have done this in Sabah and Sarawak, but we can still learn from what the UK government has done," he added.