Last Updated: 2018-03-07
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By Voon Miaw Ping

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia March 7 (NNN-Bernama) – Malaysia's over four-decade long ties with China in various spheres have brought about concrete benefits for the country and its people, contrary to claims that they bring more harm than good.

Under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's economic transformation programme and pro-investment policy, at the same time stimulated by the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative spearhead by China, where Malaysia is also actively supporting, China’s investment in the country had recorded significant increase, especially in the past two years.

Total trade between Malaysia and China reached US$96.3 billion last year, largely in the infrastructure sector and is one of the top 10 countries in term of FDI in Malaysia.

But this did not stop the opposition from casting aspersions from China's growing presence in the country.

From claiming that Malaysia is now colonised by China through the influx of their investments to lies about Putrajaya having sold the country’s sovereignty to China, the opposition had gone out of their way to create suspicion among Malaysians on China.

The accusations had prompted Barisan Nasional leaders to rebut and in the past weeks, Najib had on several occasions asserted that Malaysia viewed investments from China with importance and that his administration would not allow any unscrupulous attempts to undermine the bilateral ties with China.

He said that Malaysia would continue to welcome Chinese investments.

Najib had made the government's stand clear and was even unapologetic about it.

Moreover, during a Federation of Chinese Association of Malaysia (Huazong) Chinese New Year celebration, which Najib and China Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian also attended last month, the association president Pheng Yin Huah had made it known that Huazong, an influential umbrella body of 118 Chinese guilds and associations, backed the government’s policy to boost China’s investments in the country.

Urging the people to not believe the baseless claims, Pheng said the accusations and attacks from various quarters on China’s capital involvement were baseless and stemmed from the envy of partisan politics.

Malaysia and China’s long friendship was nurtured on mutual understanding, respect and goodwill. Malaysia was the first country in the region to offer China a hand of friendship in 1974.

And today, the relationship has resulted in many milestones made, creating win-win benefits for both sides.

These include the establishment of the twin industrial parks; China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park and Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, the commencement of the Digital Free Trade Zone in Sepang last year, to spur local SMEs businesses, especially at the international stage.

The East Coast Rail Line (ECRL), which China is a partner, is also set to become a game-changer, bringing huge economic and social impact to the east coast of the peninsula.

Economist Prof Dr Hoo Ke Ping said the move by the opposition in targeting China's vast investments in Malaysia was the bloc's last attempt to win the Malay votes in their desperation to take over Putrajaya.

“By fanning the China sentiment, (former prime minister) Dr Mahathir (Mohamed) is trying to pit the Malay against the local Chinese and at the same time to sow hatred among Malaysians on the current government by creating fear that these China investors are going to take away their livelihood,” he said.

He said the claims that Malaysia was selling its sovereignty to China was also baseless.
Hoo said Japanese investment in Malaysia was 10 times higher than China, but nobody had made an issue about it.

“Why nobody said Najib had sold our sovereignty to Japan?,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall (KLCAH) president KK Chai said China investments in Malaysia should not be viewed as a threat.

He said besides coming in with fund, the investors also brought in their technology expertise that would stimulate technology and knowledge transfer to the locals.
“Any country would need FDI to help boost its economy and build the country, and for me, China investment in Malaysia is healthy and will have positive impact to the country,” he said.

Chai also noted that the country’s socio-political stability and the many cultural values shared by the China Chinese and Malaysian Chinese were also among factors that made Malaysia the choice destination for investors from China.--NNN-BERNAMA