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Sino-Malaysian relationship on a brand new platform

  • Malaysia welcomes foreign investments, but due to economic factors and other considerations, the PH govt must ensure that all projects implemented will produce maximal benefits for the nation and people. Photo courtesy: Bernama

Sin Chew Daily

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is currently on a five-day official visit to China beginning August 17. The move is set to further strengthen the relationship between our two countries and re-establish a solid foundation for the development of future ties.

This is Tun Mahathir's first visit to China since he was sworn in as the prime minister for a second time in May. However, as Mahathir blasted Chinese investors prior to the 14th general elections, and reviewed some of the major infrastructural projects involving Chinese investors after the elections, outsiders are worried that the new government could dampen the relationship between Malaysia and China.

That said, anyone familiar with political maneuvers should come to understand that the issue of Chinese investments was raised during electoral campaign due to domestic factors and there were no reasons for Pakatan Harapan to antagonize Chinese investors.

As a matter of fact, Malaysia as a developing country needs the input from foreign investors in order to boost our economic development. Any foreign investors, including the Chinese, will be welcome as long as they help catalyze the country's economic development.

Such an attitude does not change even with a change of federal administration.

Mahathir's visit to China is meant to dispel fears and concerns over Chinese investments in Malaysia and to rebuild political trust between our two countries. The Prime Minister put it candidly at a forum in China that Malaysia was not against Chinese companies but the implementation of unnecessary projects on borrowed funds.

He pointed out that the future direction of Sino-Malaysian relationship should focus on economic development, not confrontation.

Malaysia has sent out a very clear signal, that the government will continue to foster a cordial relationship with Beijing and promote development on the basis of mutual benefits.

The attitude of Beijing, meanwhile, has also been very encouraging. Chinese premier Li Keqiang has said his country is committed to maintaining close relationship with Malaysia, and will continue to strengthen bilateral ties on a win-win basis.

The removal of uncertainties standing in the way of Sino-Malaysian relationship is definitely a positive development for both countries. Malaysia, in particular, has reaped the economic fruit during the PM's visit this time, as China has expressly stated its willingness to increase the import of Malaysian products, including palm oil and other niche agricultural products.

This means that bilateral trade is set to expand further, benefiting Malaysia's long-term economic development.

Now that a common understanding has been established, both Malaysia and China can look forward to a rejuvenated bilateral relationship which is favorable to the re-initiation of negotiations on Chinese investments in Malaysia.

As aforementioned, Malaysia welcomes foreign investments. However, due to economic factors and other considerations, the PH government must ensure that all projects implemented will produce maximal benefits for the nation and her people.

It is hoped that the controversies over Chinese investments can be dissolved amicably on the basis of mutual respect and will not impact the existing good relationship between the two countries.



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