Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Ahmad Zahid HamidiReuters

Malaysia plans to follow in Turkey’s footsteps and open an embassy in eastern Jerusalem to recognize the city as the capital of “Palestine”, its deputy prime minister said, according to the Iranian Mehr news agency.

Speaking to local media, Deputy Malaysian Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the cabinet would, next month, discuss a proposal by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for Malaysia to open an embassy in eastern Jerusalem.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed last week that his country would open an embassy in eastern Jerusalem, after a coalition of Islamic states recognized portions of the Israeli capital city as the capital of a Palestinian state.

“We have already declared East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state but we haven’t been able to open our embassy there because Jerusalem is currently under occupation,” Erdogan said, adding, “God willing we will open our embassy there.”

According to the Mehr news agency, the Malaysian Prime Minister led thousands of Malaysians in a rally on Friday to show solidarity with Palestinian Arabs following the U.s. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Najib was quoted as having told the crowd that Malaysia will do all it can to “save Jerusalem”.

Malaysia and Israel do not maintain formal diplomatic relations and in the past, Malaysia has sought to prevent Israeli athletes from entering the country.

Last year, the Israel Sailing Association withdrew athletes from a competition in Malaysia after they were denied entry visas to the country.

Later, Israel pulled its team from the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur following a row with the Malaysian government over entry visas.