War in Iraq is likely to disrupt Malaysia’s trade in export commodities including timber and furniture, the country’s primary industries minister has warned.

Dr Lim Keng Yaik said Malaysia is a supplier to Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, but expects freight charges to increase in the event of war and insurance problems for ships travelling in the region.

He said during the Afghanistan war in the 1980s ships were not willing to venture near Pakistan or India. The Malaysian government was forced to step in as guarantor for Malaysian ships to obtain insurance.